Google to pay rewards for open-source code security fixes

The program aims to improve critical open-source tools widely used across the Internet

Google said Wednesday it plans to reward developers for developing proactive security improvements for some of the most widely used open-source software programs.

The program aims to "improve the security of key third-party software critical to the health of the entire Internet," wrote Michal Zalewski of Google's Security Team. Rewards will range between US$500 to $3,133.70, he wrote.

Google decided against creating merely a bounty program for open source code.

"In short, we decided to try something new," according to Google's description of the program. "Quite a few vulnerabilities trace back to preventable coding mistakes, or are made easier to exploit due to the absence of simple mitigation techniques. We are hoping to address this to some extent."

The kind of polishing Google is looking for include fixes involving privilege separation, memory allocator hardening, cleanups of integer arithmetics, and fixes for race conditions, according to the program's rules.

Open-source software projects are usually maintained by unpaid volunteers, although some companies that have built businesses around open-source software have full-time employees that contribute code.

Google's program potentially adds a financial incentive to what was otherwise usually unpaid work done out of sheer dedication. Google already runs its own vulnerability reward program, but it only applies to its own products.

The company has picked several of the most widely used open-source programs and code libraries used in networking, image parsing and security. It would be hard to find a company or organization that does not use some of the open-source programs and tools picked by Google.

The eligible programs include OpenSSH, OpenSSL, BIND and image parsers such as libjpeg and libpng. Others include common components of the Linux kernel, such as the Kernel Based Virtual Machine, as well as the open-source foundations of Google Chrome, including the Chromium browser and its Blink rendering engine.

Eventually, Google will extend the program to Web servers such as Apache and nginx, SMTP services such as Sendmail and Postfix and VPN software such as OpenVPN, among others, Zalewski wrote.

Fixes and improvements should be sent directly the project maintainers. If the code is accepted and merged into a project's repository, people should send the details to security-patches@google.com.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceGooglesoftware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?