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Google Forms Zero-Day Hacking Team

'Project Zero' to hunt bugs in all software that touches the Net.

Google today revealed a new white-hat security team it has formed that will root out vulnerabilities in all software that touches the Internet.

The search engine giant is recruiting talent for the so-called Project Zero team, which spun out of Google's security research on its own products as well as previous part-time vulnerability research on other vendors' products by some of its researchers.

"Beyond securing our own products, interested Googlers also spend some of their time on research that makes the Internet safer, leading to the discovery of bugs like Heartbleed," says Chris Evans, researcher herder for Google charged with forming the team. "The success of that part-time research has led us to create a new, well-staffed team called Project Zero."

Google plans to hire top security researcher talent that will be focused full-time on "improving security across the Internet," he said in a post today announcing Project Zero.

"We're not placing any particular bounds on this project and will work to improve the security of any software depended upon by large numbers of people, paying careful attention to the techniques, targets and motivations of attackers," Evan said. "We'll use standard approaches such as locating and reporting large numbers of vulnerabilities. In addition, we’ll be conducting new research into mitigations, exploitation, program analysis -- and anything else that our researchers decide is a worthwhile investment."

The goal is to reduce the threat of targeted attacks, he said, and the team will post the vulnerabilities it discovers in an external database, and only report them to the affected vendor. The vulnerabilities likely will become public once the vendor has issued a patch, and Google will provide information on time-to-fix, exploitability, and exploits and other information.

Among the current members of Project Zero is George Hotz, who jailbroke the iPhone in 2007, reverse-engineered the Playstation 3, and found major flaws in Google's Chrome operating system this year, according to a report by Wired today. Renowned researchers Ben Hawkes and Tavis Ormandy also round out the team thus far.

 

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