Going beyond vulnerability rewards

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 12:49 PM

We all benefit from the amazing volunteer work done by the open source community. That’s why we keep asking ourselves how to take the model pioneered with our Vulnerability Reward Program - and employ it to improve the security of key third-party software critical to the health of the entire Internet.

We thought about simply kicking off an OSS bug-hunting program, but this approach can easily backfire. In addition to valid reports, bug bounties invite a significant volume of spurious traffic - enough to completely overwhelm a small community of volunteers. On top of this, fixing a problem often requires more effort than finding it.

So we decided to try something new: provide financial incentives for down-to-earth, proactive improvements that go beyond merely fixing a known security bug. Whether you want to switch to a more secure allocator, to add privilege separation, to clean up a bunch of sketchy calls to strcat(), or even just to enable ASLR - we want to help!

We intend to roll out the program gradually, based on the quality of the received submissions and the feedback from the developer community. For the initial run, we decided to limit the scope to the following projects:

  • Core infrastructure network services: OpenSSH, BIND, ISC DHCP
  • Core infrastructure image parsers: libjpeg, libjpeg-turbo, libpng, giflib
  • Open-source foundations of Google Chrome: Chromium, Blink
  • Other high-impact libraries: OpenSSL, zlib
  • Security-critical, commonly used components of the Linux kernel (including KVM)
We intend to soon extend the program to:
  • Widely used web servers: Apache httpd, lighttpd, nginx
  • Popular SMTP services: Sendmail, Postfix, Exim
  • Toolchain security improvements for GCC, binutils, and llvm
  • Virtual private networking: OpenVPN
How to participate?

Please submit your patches directly to the maintainers of the individual projects. Once your patch is accepted and merged into the repository, please send all the relevant details to security-patches@google.com. If we think that the submission has a demonstrable, positive impact on the security of the project, you will qualify for a reward ranging from $500 to $3,133.7.

Before participating, please read the official rules posted on this page; the document provides additional information about eligibility, rewards, and other important stuff.

Happy patching!

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4 comments:

Morgan Jones said...

This is *awesome*.

Brad said...

Could Google consider extending the program to widely used name server implementations such as nsd and Unbound and IMAP/POP3 implementation Dovecot?

Fraser Scott said...

Awesome. I had a similar idea the other day, but that would have involved sponsor companies putting money into a pool. Good job Google.

Warren Campbell said...

Woot! Google taking initiative once again! These sort of fixes are long past due.