Google starts offering up-front payments to security researchers in hunt for bugs

Google has been paying researchers for uncovering flaws in its software since 2010. The company’s Security Rewards Program has proved so successful that it’s getting harder to find new bugs, a situation that’s forced it to review the way it rewards the work of its valued bug hunters.

In a blog post over the weekend, Google security engineer Eduardo Vela Nava said that while it’s good news that its products and services now contain fewer security flaws than ever, this means “it can also be discouraging when researchers invest their time and struggle to find issues.”

As a result, the company is launching the Vulnerability Research Grants program that allows skilled researchers to receive payments before they begin their search for bugs in Google’s software.

The company said that starting now it’ll make special requests to experts regarding the kind of research that’s required. The cash payments will run from about $500 to $3,000 per project and will be handed out “immediately before research begins, with no strings attached.”

Google also said that from now all mobile apps officially developed by Google on Google Play and iTunes will also be within the scope of the Vulnerability Reward Program.

Any researchers interested in getting involved can find out more here.

The Mountain View company said that in 2014 it paid more than 200 researchers around $1,500,000 for their work, which involved the discovery of more than 500 bugs.

“For Chrome, more than half of all rewarded reports for 2014 were in developer and beta versions [so we] were able to squash bugs before they could reach our main user population,” Vela Nava said.

The single largest reward was $150,000, made to computer whizz George Hotz after he picked apart Google Chrome’s defenses. So impressed was Google by Hotz’s work that it invited him to join an internship with Project Zero, an initiative launched last year aimed at improving the security of all software, not just Google’s.

[Source: Google]


Apple’s latest feature ensures MacOS apps are safer than ever

MacOS is mythically known for being more immune to viruses than Windows, but that doesn't mean there isn't room to make it safer. Apple is using an app notarization feature to protect users from downloading malicious apps.

Despite serious security flaws, D-Link will (again) not patch some routers

D-Link revealed that it won't patch six router models despite warnings raised by a security researcher. The manufacturer, for the second time in a span of about a year, cited end-of-life policies for its decision to not act.
Social Media

Tumblr promises it fixed a bug that left user data exposed

A bug on blogging site Tumblr left user data exposed. The company says that once it learned of the flaw, it acted quickly to fix it, adding that it's confident no data linked to its users' accounts was stolen.

The best accounting software for your small business

Small business owners looking for accounting software have a variety of options at their disposal. And this guide will help them find the best solutions, from Quickbooks Online and Freshbooks to AccountEdge and Zoho Books.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

Feed your fandom: These are the best YouTube channels for sports lovers

If you're a cable cutter who still wants to enjoy quality sports highlights and analysis, YouTube is the place to go. There are plenty of great sports-centric channels on YouTube, each of which provides great highlights and top-shelf…
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.
Smart Home

Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Pantry

The marvels of the Internet have made it possible to do all your shopping from the comfort of your living room. Amazon Prime Pantry allows you to buy groceries and household items online. Here's more info about the service.