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 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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

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

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

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

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?