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Google Announces to Pay $1 Million for Finding Bugs in Pixel Phones

Software giant Microsoft has also announced its Azure Security Lab, intended to give experts a sandbox-like safe environment to test its Cloud security services better. The company also doubled the top Azure bug bounty reward for researchers to $40,000

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google has announced to pay $1 million as top award to security researchers who can find a unique bug in its Pixel series of smartphones that may compromise users’ data.

There is an additional 50 per cent bonus if a security researcher is able to find an exploit on “specific developer preview versions of Android”, resulting in a prize of $1.5 million.

The Google Bug Bounty programme will reward the top prize to someone who can break into Google’s Titan M “secure element.”

Similar to Apple’s “iPhone Secure Elementa, “Titan M” is a security chip that automatically scans hackers trying to load malware when an Android phone is turned on.

For the new reward category, Google is looking for “full chain remote code execution exploit with persistence which compromises the Titan M secure element on Pixel devices.”

“We will reward extra for a full exploit chain (typically multiple vulnerabilities chained together) that demonstrates arbitrary code execution, data exfiltration, or a lockscreen bypass,” said Google.

When Google first introduced its bug bounty programme for Android, the biggest bug bounty reward was $38,000.

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Google Pixel XL smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Security researchers this week identified that camera in Google Pixel smartphones can easily spy on you.

According to Erez Yalon and Pedro Umbelino, security researchers at cyber security firm Checkmarx, they found that vulnerabilities impact the camera apps of smartphone vendors like Google Pixel and some Samsung devices in the Android ecosystem, presenting significant implications to hundreds-of-millions of smartphone users.

After a detailed analysis of the Google Camera app, the team found that by manipulating specific actions and intents, an attacker can control the app to take photos and/or record videos through a rogue application that has no permissions to do so.

Google has now matched Apple in rewarding bug hunters.

Apple is planning to supply special iPhones to security researchers to help them tackle malicious hackers before they trespass or damage systems and to discover flaws and vulnerabilities better.

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Researchers with a security research track record of high-quality systems on any platform are eligible to apply and they could end up earning a maximum payout of $1 million.

Apple launched its bug bounty programme three years ago at the Black Hat conference and is now extending its use to cover macOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and more.

Software giant Microsoft has also announced its Azure Security Lab, intended to give experts a sandbox-like safe environment to test its Cloud security services better. The company also doubled the top Azure bug bounty reward for researchers to $40,000. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Brings New Feature Called ‘Focus Mode’ For Android Devices

Focus mode is available on all devices that currently have Digital Wellbeing and parental controls settings, including new phones launching with Android 9 and Android 10

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Focus mode is a new Digital Wellbeing tool on Google Android, now out of beta, that helps you get things done by temporarily pausing apps so you can focus on the task at hand. Pixabay

Google has introduced a new feature ‘Focus Mode’ for Android devices designed to prevent its users from being consistently distracted by their smartphone.

The feature allows users to turn off distractions – like social media updates or email notifications – for a period of time, so a user can get things done without interruption.

Focus mode was first announced at Google’s developer conference in the summer as part of Android Q/10.

Google
Google has introduced a new feature ‘Focus Mode’ for Android devices designed to prevent its users from being consistently distracted by their smartphone. Pixabay

“Focus mode is a new Digital Wellbeing tool on Android, now out of beta, that helps you get things done by temporarily pausing apps so you can focus on the task at hand. You can select apps you currently find distracting (like social media or games) and if you try to open them, Focus mode will remind you that app is paused.

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“Focus mode will also silence those apps’ notifications until you are ready to switch out of the mode,” Dayson Pais Product Manager, Android said in a statement on Wednesday.

Focus mode is available on all devices that currently have Digital Wellbeing and parental controls settings, including new phones launching with Android 9 and Android 10. (IANS)