Google Debuts Quality Ratings for Security Bug Disclosures

New rules aim to level up the quality of submissions to Google and Android device Vulnerability Reward Program.

Android robot
Source: Marc Bruxelle RF via Alamy Stock Photo

Google and Android will now assess device vulnerability disclosure reports based on the level of information that bug hunters provide in order to encourage more comprehensive submissions.

Vulnerability reports submitted to the Android and Google Vulnerability Reward Program (VRP) will be rated as "High," "Medium," or "Low" quality based on these elements, according to Google Security:

  • The accuracy and detail of the vulnerability description

  • Analysis of its root cause

  • Proof of concept

  • Reproducibility

  • Evidence of reachability

Google and Android have also upped the top bug bounty prize to $15,000.

"Additionally, starting March 15th, 2023, Android will no longer assign Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) to most moderate severity issues," the Google Security blog post announcing the VRP changes said. "The CVEs will continue to be assigned to critical and high severity vulnerabilities."

Bugcrowd founder and chief technology officer (CTO) Casey Ellis applauds the effort by Google to define the elements of a high-quality vulnerability disclosure.

"Nothing happens without effective communication. ... The power of crowdsourcing brings with variability in how vulnerability submitters communicate, and the downstream effectiveness of the report at communicating the risk to those who need to fix it," Ellis says, in response to the new VRP rules. "Google stepping up to help educate the hacker community on 'the things which make communication more effective' is an enormous win for both the space and the community itself."

In 2022 alone, Google's VRPs paid out a record-setting $12 million in bug bounties.

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