SECURITY

Google Tells Hackers: Bring It on

Google announced its fourth annual hacking contest to find security flaws within its own operating system. Feeling warm and fuzzy about the tech giant now?
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Thankfully, Google realizes you don't want to get hacked.

Like many entrepreneurs, you probably use the Internet to carry out sensitive business activities such as banking, taxes and email. So it’s crucial to make sure the walls of the Web are as impenetrable as possible.

While Google can't prevent all potential nefarious Web behavior, it can at least patrol its own backyard. With this goal, Google is planning Pwnium 4, its fourth annual hacking contest, which targets its Chrome operating system.

The contest is expected to kick off during the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, from March 12 through the 14th.

Inspiring hackers to put up a fight, Google has offered a total of $2.7 million in cash prizes to those who manage to compromise a Chrome browser or device. To claim the money, a hacker will have to follow a long list of rules and go into detail about how they performed the exploit.

But why would Google want to challenge people to prove its products are fallible? Well, beyond protecting Chrome users, the contest does offer a nice little PR bump. Last year, there were no winning entries. So, kudos to Google. Still, hackers who identified a few necessary fixes did receive partial awards.

In 2010, the company established the ongoing Chromium Vulnerability Reward Program and has given away a total of $900,000 since. After Pwnium 3, they praised the program's success: "We’re itching to give more, as engaging the security community is one of the best ways to keep all Internet users safe."

Stay tuned to see what the hackers discover this March--your checking account might thank you.

IMAGE: Flickr/Robert Scoble
Last updated: Jan 24, 2014

LYDIA BELANGER | Staff Writer

Lydia Belanger is an editorial intern for Inc. magazine. Previously, she interned with AARP The Magazine and Circle of Blue.




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