Google Just Doubled the Reward For Cracking Into Chromebooks

Photograph by Bloomberg

Hackers with the skills to crack into a Google Chromebook could earn big paychecks.

Google said this week that it’s raising the cash prizes under its bug bounty program in which altruistic hackers can earn money to find security holes in Google’s products and services.

For researchers who can compromise a Chromebook while the device is in guest mode, Google (GOOG) will pay out $100,000, instead of the previous $50,000, according to a Google blog post this week. Chromebook users can put devices into guest mode when sharing the low-cost laptops with others but want to keep their account information private.

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The search giant admitted it hasn’t received a successful submission from security researchers so far in regards to breaking into the Chromebook.

In January, Google boasted that it handed out over $2 million to security researchers who found bugs in the company’s technology. Since launching its bug bounty program in 2010, Google has awarded over $6 million in cash prizes to hackers and researchers. The company specifically cited over 300 security researchers have earned money for their work since the program rolled out.

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Bug bounty programs have been catching on in recent years as more high-profile hacks, such as the one that plagued Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, become commonplace. The basic premise behind these security programs is that it’s better to have researchers discover bugs in an organization’s technology so that a company can fix them before true cyber criminals can exploit these holes.

Numerous startups offering bug bounty programs to companies have recently emerged, including HackerOne, Bugcrowd, and Synack. The federal government has even jumped on the bug bounty bandwagon, with the Pentagon saying it will reward security researchers who can find vulnerabilities in its computer systems.

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