Google expands bug bounty program, ups Patch program rewards

Researchers who analyze Google-made extensions should be rewarded, the company said

Google is broadening its bug bounty program for security researchers to encompass all Chrome apps and extensions made by company. It's also upping payments for its Patch Rewards Program, focused on improvements for open-source code.

The company pays independent researchers for finding problems such as cross-site scripting flaws, SQL injection or authentication problems under its Vulnerability Reward Program, which started in November 2010.

Many applications and extensions for its Chrome browser come from third-party developers, but Google also develops many itself.

"We think developing Chrome extensions securely is relatively easy (given our security guidelines are followed), but given that extensions like Hangouts and GMail are widely used, we want to make sure efforts to keep them secure are rewarded accordingly," wrote Eduardo Vela Nava and Michal Zalewski of Google's Security Team, in a blog post.

The company is also upping the payouts for qualifying code improvements under its Patch Rewards Program, which focuses on some of the most widely used open-source programs. It was launched in October 2013.

The previous range for rewards was between US$500 to $3,133.7. Now that range will apply to "submissions that are very simple or that offer only fairly speculative gains," Nava and Zalewski wrote.

Google will offer $5,000 for moderately complex patches that provide convincing security benefits, and $10,000 for complicated improvements that prevent major vulnerabilities in the code.

"We look forward to ongoing collaboration with the broader security community, and we'll continue to invest in these programs to help make the Internet a safer place for everyone," they wrote.

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