Google paid its highest-ever bug bounty last year
Someone made a lot of money discovering vulnerabilities in Google products in 2022, the company has revealed.
The search engine giant recently disclosed the results of its Vulnerability Reward Program, a bug bounty campaign that rewards ethical hackers who discover major flaws in its products and disclose them responsibly instead of giving hackers an opportunity to abuse them with malware.
In total, the company paid out more than $12 million for roughly 2,900 vulnerabilities over the course of 2022.
Flaws in Android, Chrome, and ChromeOS
One unique report stands out in Google’s report – a hacker discovered an exploit chain, involving five separate vulnerabilities in Android – CVE-2022-20427, CVE-2022-20428, CVE-2022-20454, CVE-2022-20459, CVE-2022-20460. Google decided the exploit chain warranted a $605,000 reward.
The person who discovered the exploit chain goes by the alias gzobqq, BleepingComputer reported, adding that the same person earned $157,000 in 2021, as well, for a critical exploit chain in Android. Both these exploit chains were the highest bug bounty in Android at their respective times.
Looking at Android specifically, last year Google paid out $4.8 million in rewards. The three most active hackers reported 200, 150, and 100 bugs, respectively.
Furthermore, the company paid out almost $500,000 for 700 reports done through the Android Chipset Security Reward Program. ACSRP is a private bug bounty program reserved only for Android chipset manufacturers.
For 363 flaws discovered in Chrome, and 110 in ChromeOS, Google paid out $4 million.
Most major tech companies operate bug bounty programs, as they are a great way to incentivize the wider cybersecurity community to participate in the strengthening of the world’s most popular software.
In August 2022, Microsoft reported paying out $13.7 million in rewards, to 330 security researchers across 46 countries. The largest award, under the Hyper-V Bounty Program, was $200,000, the company added, while the average award was approximately $12,000.
Apple, on the other hand, said it paid out $20 million via its bug bounty program in 2022, with the average reward in the product category being $40,000.
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