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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglesecurityExploits / vulnerabilities

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?