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Google to offer $2.7M in prizes at Pwnium 4

Google will offer large cash prizes for hackers to find vulnerabilities in the Chrome OS.
Google will offer large cash prizes for hackers to find vulnerabilities in the Chrome OS.Patrick Lux/Getty Images

Google’s offering up big money to hackers this year. Based on how well hacker competitions have been doing and what good they’ve been doing for companies, Google is going to offer up to $2.7 million dollars in rewards at the Pwnium 4 hacking competition. The contest will be held in March at the CanSecWest conference taking place in Vancouver this year.

Google created Pwnium in response to another well-known hacking contest, Pwn2Own. Though it isn’t required in the other contest, Google plans on requiring full exploit information to Google. Threat Post notes that this is likely keeping contestants some researchers from entering. But Google means to make it worth it for those who do comete. Google will be offering prizes of $110,000 and $150,000 with room for added bonuses for clever exploits. The prize of $110,000 is awarded to hackers who can compromise the OS through a web page. The larger prize is offered when a researcher can so thoroughly compromise the OS that even a reboot doesn’t undo the damage.

This year, researchers will be able to choose between an HP Chromebook 11 or an Acer C720 Chromebook in testing their skills. In the past, the competition has focus on Intel-based devices that operate with the Chrome OS.

By having researchers provide their full exploit, Google can protect their devices against the newest methods in hacking as well as allowing those who want to share this information a safe way to do it, rather than have a hacker expose a vulnerability at a random time.