Google Throws Down the Gauntlet for Hackers to Breach Their New Phone

There are many ways to fund a project, but one of the more interesting ways to do so in today’s web-centric culture is through crowdfunding. It’s been so effective that even major companies like Google are using it to their advantage. Google’s latest project encourages users to hack into the Nexus line of mobile devices to collect potential vulnerabilities, with the promise of prizes for those who are successful.

This “contest” is called Project Zero, in which users must hack into a Nexus 6P and a Nexus 5X using only the phone numbers and associated email addresses. Additionally, the vulnerabilities discovered need to be capable of executing code on the devices remotely when an email or text message is opened. This is actually much more difficult than it sounds, and Google wants to use this contest to discover vulnerabilities and determine how they work, what their methods are, and how best to protect users from similar exploits.

All in all, it’s an attempt to improve the value and quality of the device, and Google’s trying to get users in on the action.

Google is offering prizes on a first-come, first-serve basis. Here are the prizes in descending order:

1st: $200,000
2nd: $100,000
3rd: “at least” $50,000
Additionally, the cash prizes come with the opportunity to author a guest post on Google’s Project Zero blog.

One of the benefits of crowdsourcing this responsibility to consumers is that Google doesn’t have to pay an entire team to find a resolution or detect vulnerabilities. Google can instead take the opportunity to get a head start on fixing a large group of vulnerabilities, and the prize rewards are likely much cheaper than it would be to have an entire team scour the devices and address problems.

Cybersecurity experts use a similar method to help your business overcome potential weaknesses in your IT infrastructure. This practice is called penetration testing, which analyzes your current infrastructure for vulnerabilities in your systems and network components. It’s a common preventative measure that’s designed to keep threats out and identify ways to optimize network security.

But we don’t stop there--we’ll continue to keep a close watch on your organisation’s infrastructure and warn you of potential vulnerabilities that might come your way. We can remotely patch and monitor your systems so as to prevent unnecessary vulnerabilities from tripping up your organisation's operations.