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March 08, 2012

Google Paying Out Big Bucks In Order to Find Flaws in Chrome

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

In a world where the Internet is big business, it is a surprise to no one that hacking is equally lucrative. Most of the largest companies and websites in the world are having to fight off hackers on a daily basis and because of this quite a few of the targets have started hiring from the ranks of their enemies. This concept in and of itself isn’t relatively new. Banks and financial firms have been hiring “retired” thieves for decades to try and break in and show the companies where their security flaws are the most troublesome.  

Firms like Facebook (News - Alert) and Google are doing this as well, on the digital level. Several months ago, Facebook made headlines by offering up bounties to hackers to try and find weaknesses in their website security. It appears that Google (News - Alert) has also been employing the same approach to finding weaknesses in their Google Chrome browser. The Internet giant recently announced that they had plugged 14 different flaws in their browser and they had found these flaws by offering up bounties to different hackers to find it.

Google announced that they handed out a company record $47,000 in check to “researchers” who were using bug reporting protocols to point out where flaws and weaknesses were located. That giant sum of money also included $30,000 paid out to different users for “sustained, extraordinary“ contributions to the company’s bug reporting program.

While handing out nearly $50,000 is unprecedented, the money Google is getting ready to put up will certainly be something to raise eyebrows. The company will offer up $1 million at this year’s CanSecWest. The security conference kicked off on Tuesday and will run through today. Google will pay this money out to researchers who can find other unknown security issues. Over the course of the year, the internet company has spent a pretty penny, already offering up nearly $100,000 this year. 

Google is just one of the companies that feels offering up bounties helps outside researchers want to break into their sites. The practice doesn’t seem to be going away and in reality it appears even more companies are taking this approach.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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