Google scraps annual Pwnium bug-hunting contest

Google said the change will prevent researchers from holding onto dangerous bugs in order to claim a big prize

Google is scrapping Pwnium, its annual bug hunting event, and folding it into an existing year-round program in part to reduce security risks.

The company held Pwnium annually at CanSecWest, a security conference in Vancouver, to find security problems in its Chrome OS, Chrome browser and affiliated applications.

But Tim Willis of the Chrome Security Team wrote in a blog post that the annual event isn't best for either researchers or the company.

"If a security researcher was to discover a Pwnium-quality bug chain today, it's highly likely that they would wait until the contest to report it to get a cash reward," Willis wrote. "This is a bad scenario for all parties. It's bad for us because the bug doesn't get fixed immediately and our users are left at risk."

It also increased the chance that the same bug might be submitted by more than one researcher, he wrote. Researchers had to attend the conference as well.

Now, researchers who find bugs in Chrome products can submit them under the Chrome Reward Program, Willis wrote, which has been around since 2010.

Awards range from a minimum of $US500 up to $US50,000, with an unlimited reward pool. But Willis cautioned that Google's lawyers say the program is "experimental and discretionary" and could be cancelled or modified.

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 GoogleExploits / vulnerabilities

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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?