Google Will Pay A Year's Salary To Hackers Who Find One Really Bad Security Flaw In Chrome OS

Chrome OS head Sundar Pichai at Google I/OGoogle Sr. Vice President Sundar Pichai

Google wants hackers to break into its Chrome OS operating system.

As long as they tell Google how they did it.

It announced plans for its fourth annual hacking contest called Pwnium 4, held in March at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver. “Pwn” is geek-speak for breaking into a computer and owning it. Pwnium is a play on the full name of Google Chrome: Chromium.

The total prize pot this year is $US2.71828 million. And that’s another geek joke. That number is known as “the mathematical constant e” an important concept to understand when writing algorithms.

But the payouts to hackers is no joke. They can earn a healthy year’s salary for finding a single hole in Chrome OS, if it’s serious enough.

The top prize is $US150,000 for a hack delivered by a Web page that let’s a hacker control a Chrome OS PC even after it reboots. Google will also pay $US110,000 for other serious holes delivered by a Web page.

Plus the company is prepared to pay out “bonuses” for clever hacks, even if they aren’t as serious.

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