Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is certainly not the first technology company to introduce a contest, daring hackers to break and exploit its coding, in an attempt not only to improve cybersecurity but also to develop invulnerability in a system. However, Google seems to be the boldest to date, as the company has increased its rewards for those who can successfully detect a bug in Google Chrome – and go a step further and actually prove how the bug can be exploited.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) first conducted this type of contest two years ago, and it has paid out varying amounts of money to those who discover flaws in Google Chrome code. The company has paid out $500 to $1,000, or even $10,000 for bugs that were detected – the biggest single prize, $60,000, was paid out twice.
Now, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has seen a reduction in breach reports, so it is launching a new contest with higher stakes – the total prize pool has doubled to $2 million and the top prize will be $60,000 for the best bug hunter. Plus, the company is set to issue higher bonuses, up to $1,000 each, for various bug discoveries, including a $1,000 bonus for a “particularly exploitable” issue – where the bug finder will have to demonstrate how the bug can be exploited.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is hosting a specific bug-finding event, known as Pwmium 2, set for October 10 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What is also encouraged, besides Chrome-related bugs, are bugs found within Google in general or even non-Google bugs will be eligible for up to $40,000 as a prize – so hackers will be rewarded for their efforts at improving Internet security as a whole, even if the exploit was found in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) code, for example – which Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) does not pay our reward money for bug finds.
If an exploitable issue is found and demonstrated, it will need to be recorded by the hacker so that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) takes the necessary steps to alert everyone involved about the exploit and how they might be affected. At the inaugural Pwmium event last year, for example, the two winning $60,000 entries were blocked within 24 hours of demonstration, and later the Chromium blog posted an entry so everyone could learn from the shortcoming and ensure their own bugs were identified and corrected, if they were similar.
But the increase in prize money generally means that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) feels confident that its code is completely stable and not vulnerable to attacks, which could be a likely selling point for the Chrome browser, which is relatively new in the marketplace. But what has been most invulnerable to this point has been the stock price of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is a stalbe and reliable stock play for many hedge funds like Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management fund.