Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

7/16/2010
06:10 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Mozilla Raises Security Bug Payout

If you are a bug finder, finding security flaws in Mozilla software products, such as the Firefox web browser, just became much more profitable after the foundation raised its bug bounty from $500 to $3,000. But will this move help improve your security?

If you are a bug finder, finding security flaws in Mozilla software products, such as the Firefox web browser, just became much more profitable after the foundation raised its bug bounty from $500 to $3,000. But will this move help improve your security?Perhaps, but only a little. Sure, $3,000 sounds like a substantial sum for a security researcher. And no doubt it will attract a hefty amount of bug disclosures to Mozilla. Mozilla is also expanding software eligible for the bounty:

For new bugs reported starting July 1st, 2010 UTC we are changing the bounty payment to $3,000 US per eligible security bug. A lot has changed in the 6 years since the Mozilla program was announced, and we believe that one of the best way to keep our users safe is to make it economically sustainable for security researchers to do the right thing when disclosing information.

We have also clarified the products covered under the bounty to better reflect the threats we are focused upon. We still include Firefox and Thunderbird obviously, but we also added Firefox Mobile and any Mozilla services that those products rely upon for safe operation. These are products we have traditionally paid bounties for in a discretionary basis anyway, but we wanted to make that explicit. Release and beta versions of those products are eligible. Mozilla Suite bugs however is no longer eligible, as it is not an officially released nor supported Mozilla product.

Now, a ton of labor can go into bug discovery, and a $3,000 payout doesn't guarantee much profit.

And the bounty certainly won't challenge the zero-day black market. Some experts peg the value of zero days to the underground market in the tens of thousands. In this quote from Local Tech Wire the security researcher is talking about the flaw within Internet Explorer that was used against Google late last year:

Pedram Amini, manager of the Zero Day Initiative at the security firm TippingPoint, estimated that the IE flaw could have fetched as much as $40,000. He said even more valuable zero-day flaws are ones that can infect computers without any action on the users' part.

So while this is an improvement, I doubt software makers will ever be able to outbid the underground market for zero day vulnerabilities. After all, criminal attackers can use these flaws as a way to turn a sizeable profit (for awhile). Software makers merely get an incrementally more secure application.

What's needed is a market for newfound software vulnerabilities that will make it possible for the better software security researchers to make a decent living. However, for that to happen, would require more - and larger - software vendors to provide payments for software bugs. Currently, Google provides an ad hoc payment to researchers, but nothing formal that security researchers can build a business around.

And, best of my knowledge, large enterprise software companies, such as Microsoft and Oracle don't offer any form of payment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Can you smell me now?
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11844
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
There is an Incorrect Authorization vulnerability in Micro Focus Service Management Automation (SMA) product affecting version 2018.05 to 2020.02. The vulnerability could be exploited to provide unauthorized access to the Container Deployment Foundation.
CVE-2020-6937
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
A Denial of Service vulnerability in MuleSoft Mule CE/EE 3.8.x, 3.9.x, and 4.x released before April 7, 2020, could allow remote attackers to submit data which can lead to resource exhaustion.
CVE-2020-7648
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.72.2 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads for users who have access to Snyk's internal network by appending the URL with a fragment identifier and a whitelisted path e.g. `#package.json`
CVE-2020-7650
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker after 4.72.0 including and before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads to users with access to Snyk's internal network of any files ending in the following extensions: yaml, yml or json.
CVE-2020-7654
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Information Exposure. It logs private keys if logging level is set to DEBUG.