Listen up, hackers -- there's big money in switching your black hat for a white hat and hacking for the cause of good. Google announced Wednesday that they're offering $2 million in a hacking contest to find bugs, flaws, and hackable exploits in the Google Chrome web browser.
Before you put on a pot of coffee and start hacking away, realize that you can only claim your hacking prize if you attend a certain specific hacker conference being held October 8-11. Realize also that this conference is being held in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. Can you hack yourself some free international airline tickets?
The conference is called Hack in the Box, and Google announced they're offering cash prizes for hacking the Chrome browser on their Chromium blog. "We’re happy to make the web safer by any means," Google software engineer Chris Evans writes on the blog, "even rewarding vulnerabilities outside of our immediate control."
The contest will be an individual event at the Hack in the Box conference called Pwnium 2 -- a sequel to a similar to the Pwnium contest held last year. Don't ask me how "Pwnium" is supposed to be pronounced.
It's not a new idea for companies to hire hackers to hack their own systems or products. Credit card companies often hire hacker ex-convicts fresh out of prison to help figure out the vulnerabilities in their own systems. SPOILER: They often blame the cleaning staff.
Last year's Pwnium competition offered hackers $1 million in prizes, and this year Google is doubling the bounty. The $2 million dollars is not available as one lump sum huge prize. Google is offering several prizes that altogether amount to $2 million, and the largest of these prizes is $60,000.
That top $60,000 prize is available for a "Full Chrome exploit" -- a hack which exploits a bug that is entirely the fault of the Google Chrome browser. The second-tier prize of $50,000 is being offered for a "Partial Chrome exploit", or a hack which is partially a flaw in Chrome, and partially a flaw in the computer's operating system or some form of supporting software.
Additionally, a $40,000 prize is available for hacks which do not exploit a flaw in Chrome, but Chrome can be used to employ the hack. There are also "judges' choice" prizes for hacks that can't really be defined by the above three definitions.
So think about it, hackers -- the cash prizes are bigger this year, and the hacking competition might be weaker. After all, Kim DotCom is on house arrest and not allowed to fly out of New Zealand