16 June 2016

One Year of Android Security Rewards



A year ago, we added Android Security Rewards to the long standing Google Vulnerability Rewards Program. We offered up to $38,000 per report that we used to fix vulnerabilities and protect Android users.

Since then, we have received over 250 qualifying vulnerability reports from researchers that have helped make Android and mobile security stronger. More than a third of them were reported in Media Server which has been hardened in Android N to make it more resistant to vulnerabilities.

While the program is focused on Nexus devices and has a primary goal of improving Android security, more than a quarter of the issues were reported in code that is developed and used outside of the Android Open Source Project. Fixing these kernel and device driver bugs helps improve security of the broader mobile industry (and even some non-mobile platforms).

By the Numbers

Here’s a quick rundown of the Android VRP’s first year:

  • We paid over $550,000 to 82 individuals. That’s an average of $2,200 per reward and $6,700 per researcher.
  • We paid our top researcher, @heisecode, $75,750 for 26 vulnerability reports.
  • We paid 15 researchers $10,000 or more.
  • There were no payouts for the top reward for a complete remote exploit chain leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise.
Thank you to those who submitted high quality vulnerability reports to us last year.

Improvements to Android VRP

We’re constantly working to improve the program and today we’re making a few changes to all vulnerability reports filed after June 1, 2016.

We’re paying more!
  • We will now pay 33% more for a high-quality vulnerability report with proof of concept. For example, the reward for a Critical vulnerability report with a proof of concept increased from $3000 to $4000.
  • A high quality vulnerability report with a proof of concept, a CTS Test, or a patch will receive an additional 50% more.
  • We’re raising our rewards for a remote or proximal kernel exploit from $20,000 to $30,000.
  • A remote exploit chain or exploits leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise increase from $30,000 to $50,000.
All of the changes, as well as the additional terms of the program, are explained in more detail in our Program Rules. If you’re interested in helping us find security vulnerabilities, take a look at Bug Hunter University and learn how to submit high quality vulnerability reports. Remember, the better the report, the more you’ll get paid. We also recently updated our severity ratings, so make sure to check those out, too.

Thank you to everyone who helped us make Android safer. Together, we made a huge investment in security research that has made Android stronger. We’re just getting started and are looking forward to doing even more in the future.