Google bug bounty hunters make $410,000


Bug hunters have made a total of $410,000 (258,900) in the last year after sending in their findings to Google.

Over 1,100 flaws have been found in Google-owned software since the tech giant launched its vulnerability report programme in November 2010.

Of those, 730 merited a monetary reward. Google sought to distance itself from insecure design claims, saying around half of the bugs that received a reward were in software written by around 50 companies it had acquired.

"The rest were distributed across applications developed by Google (several hundred new ones each year). Significantly, the vast majority of our initial bug reporters had never filed bugs with us before we started offering monetary rewards," said Adam Mein, technical program manager for the Google Security Team, in a blog post.

"It's not all about money, though. Google has gotten better and stronger as a result of this work. We get more bug reports, which means we get more bug fixes, which means a safer experience for our users."

Other tech giants have kicked off similar reward schemes. Facebook launched its own initiative in the second half of last year. Within just three weeks the social network handed out $40,000 to researchers.

"Over time, these programs can help companies build better relationships with the security research community," Mein added. "As the model replicates, the opportunity to improve the overall security of the web broadens."

The substantial money handed out to researchers is proof that a job in the security industry can be lucrative. Yet there is a lack of security skills in the UK.

Read on for our report on how the UK is striving to solve the security skills crisis.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.