Google Increases Bug Bounty Payouts for Abuse Risk Flaws

Google this week increased the reward amounts paid to researchers for reporting abuse risk as part of its bug bounty program. 

Google added product abuse risks to its Vulnerability Reward Program (VRP) two years ago and says that more than 750 such issues have been identified since. 

The amount for high severity issues was increased by 166% from $5,000 to $13,337. Furthermore, Google announced that security researchers who submit reports on security flaws with medium to high impact and probability may receive up to $5,000 for their discoveries. 

The company is willing to pay up to $1,337 for low impact flaws with high probability. 

“Starting today the new rewards take effect. Any reports that were submitted before September 1, 2020 will be rewarded based on the previous rewards table,” the company says

The Internet giant notes that the final reward amount that a researcher will be awarded for their findings “remains at the discretion of the reward panel.” Both the severity of the issue and the number of impacted users are taken into consideration when evaluating the impact of an abuse risk.

Google also said that it is considering expanding the scope of Vulnerability Research Grants to support research aimed at the prevention of abuse risks, but that specific details on the matter will be shared at a later date. 

“Identification of new product abuse risks remains the primary goal of the program. Reports that qualify for a reward are those that will result in changes to the product code, as opposed to removal of individual pieces of abusive content,” the search company explains.  

Google points out that, while the nature of product abuse is changing in line with advances in technology, it is mainly interested in research aimed at protecting users’ privacy and ensuring the integrity of Google’s technologies, in addition to preventing financial fraud or other types of harm. 

Related: Google Paid Out $6.5 Million Through Bug Bounty Programs in 2019

Related: Google Adds GKE Open-Source Dependencies to Vulnerability Rewards 

Related: Google Bug Bounty Program Now Covers Platform Abuse

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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