Expanding the Chromium Security Rewards Program

Thursday, February 09, 2012

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It’s hard for us to believe, but it’s been just over two years since we first announced the Chromium Security Rewards Program.

We’ve been delighted with the program’s success; we’ve issued well over $300,000 of rewards across hundreds of qualifying bugs, all of which we promptly fixed. It also helped inspire a wave of similar efforts from companies across the web, including Google’s own vulnerability reward program for web properties, which has also been a big hit.

We’ve been fascinated by the variety and ingenuity of bugs submitted by dozens of researchers. We’ve received bugs in roughly every component, ranging from system software (Windows kernel / Mac OS X graphics libraries / GNU libc) to Chromium / WebKit code and to popular open source libraries (libxml, ffmpeg). Chromium is a more stable and robust browser thanks to the efforts of the wider security community.

Today we’re expanding the scope of the Chromium program to formally include more items that deserve recognition:

  • High-severity Chromium OS security bugs are now in scope. Chromium OS includes much more than just the Chromium browser, so we’re rewarding security bugs across the whole system, as long as they are high severity and present when “developer mode” is switched off. Examples of issues that may generate a reward could include (but are not limited to): 
    • Renderer sandbox escapes via Linux kernel bugs. 
    • Memory corruptions or cross-origin issues inside the Pepper Flash plug-in. 
    • Serious cross-origin or memory corruption issues in default-installed apps, extensions or plug-ins. 
    • Violations of the verified boot path. 
    • Web- or network-reachable vulnerabilities in system libraries, daemons or drivers.
Chromium OS security bugs should be reported in the Chromium OS bug tracker, whilst security bugs affecting the desktop Chromium browser should be reported in the Chromium bug tracker.
  • We may elect to issue “bonuses” ranging from $500 to $1000 if a bug reporter takes on fixing the bug they have found themselves. For eligibility, this process involves working with the Chromium community to produce a peer reviewed patch. These bonuses are granted on top of the base reward, which typically runs between $500 and $3133.70. 
  • The base reward for a well-reported and significant cross-origin bug (for example a so-called UXSS or “Universal XSS”) is now $2000. 
Perhaps most importantly, this program reflects several of our core security principles: engaging the community, building defense in depth, and particularly making the web safer for everyone.

Related to this third core principle, we’re particularly excited by all the work that has been done on shared components. For example, a more robust WebKit not only helps users of two major desktop browsers, but also a variety of tablet and mobile browsers.

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