Google is offering a $1m booty for hackers that can develop exploits capable of cracking the security features in its Chrome browser.
Google will be running a Chrome exploit competition at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, Canada, on 7-9 March.
It will offer different levels of prizes for different exploits, with a top prize of $60,000 for a full Chrome exploit, with lesser prizes available for less serious vulnerabilities being discovered.
A total prize fund of $1m is available, if enough flaws are discovered, and winners will also be given a Chromebook.
“By studying the vulnerability and exploit techniques we can enhance our mitigations, automated testing, and sandboxing. This enables us to better protect our users,” wrote Chris Evans and Justin Schuh, of Google's Chrome security team on the company's Chrome blog.
Google's cash giveaway will take place at the same time as the infamous Pwn2Own competition.
Entrants to that competition will be looking to exploit flaws in the four most popular web browsers, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome, running on the latest fully-patched versions of either Windows 7 or Mac OS X Lion.
Google said it decided to withdraw its sponsorship of the Pwn2Own competition because it became aware that hackers would not have to publish details of any successful exploits.
“Full exploits have been handed over in previous years, but it’s an explicit non-requirement in this year’s contest, and that’s worrisome,” Evans and Schuh said.
In previous years, hackers have avoided targeting Chrome's browser, partly because its sandboxing technology made it less vulnerable that other browsers.
The new $1m prize fund is also separate from the other reward programme that Google runs for bug hunters. Despite running for far longer, Google has to date, paid out less than $500,000 for bug finders in that programme.
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