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

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

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceGooglesecuritysoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Cool Tech

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?