Google Chrome Hackathon
Google has once again offered a challenge for hackers across the world, and it sounds like a contest that proud hackers may not easily refuse. The offer: up to one million dollars to anyone able to successfully hack and exploit bugs in the Google Chrome browser. Google is very confident in its product that they are willing to put a large cash prize on the line to anyone that can bring Chrome’s flaws to their attention.

Google’s Pwnium contest which is being held at the same time as Pwn2Own, has several prizes for individual hackers, depending on the bug or bugs that the hacker finds. Chrome’s bug doesn’t have to be found in a product that would only affect Google Chrome — any hacker that can successfully find a bug or exploit in Windows, Flash, or a device driver, Google will pay them $20,000 for their efforts. For any hacks that specifically target Google Chrome, Google will shuffle out $40,000. Finally, for any exploits that affect only Google Chrome, Google will pay a minimum of $60,000. Depending on the severity of the exploit, Google will increase the payout, leading up to the one million dollar prize.

So why would Google want people to hack its product? This whole contest is designed to allow Google to improve their product by weeding out exploits in any applications or media files that could possibly effect all browsers. They are using a money prize to round up the world’s greatest hackers to try and take down Chrome. If a person is successful, they will submit the data concerning the hack to Google so that they’ll be able to securely fix the bug. Google’s strategy may lie in the fact that a good hacker appreciates a challenge, especially when it comes with a paycheck.

Google is not the first company to offer this contest, but it is offering one of the biggest rewards to those that successfully bring Chrome to its knees. No other company has yet to offer up to one million dollars for a hacker to take down its product. By doing this Google is showing that they mean business when it comes to their products, and want to set the bar as top dog when it comes to web browsers. One of the other top companies that has crowd-sourced a contest like this in the past was Hewlett-Packard, offering $60,000 during the Pwn2Own even. It’s not so rare at this point in technology to find a company that is so confident in one of their own products to offer hackers large sums of money to try and exploit their own product – but they do it for the betterment of the end product to keeping people more safe and secure online.

After the Google Pwnium contest ends, we’ll be able to see the results of which exploits were most overlooked, and which bugs may have lead to larger security risks. To any hackers that are going to compete in the Pwnium competition, we wish you the best of luck.