Google's Project Zero to hunt for zero-days

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jul 16, 2014

Bugs to be reported to the vendor only, and to become public once patched.

Google has created a new team, called Project Zero, whose task is to find vulnerabilities in any kind of widely used software and to report them to the respective vendor.

Few subjects in security are as controversial as the disclosure of zero-day vulnerabilities. Some argue that vulnerabilities should always be reported to the affected vendor, and that a 'bug bounty' is a nice, but not mandatory extra. Others say that without a bug bounty rewarding the researchers for their work, they shouldn't report it - and even if there is a reward, the bug should only be reported if the bounty is deemed reasonable.

Indeed, bug bounties aren't the only way researchers can monetize the vulnerabilities they find: there are various entities that will gladly pay for such vulnerabilities, some of which aren't always seen to have the best interests of the average Internet user at heart. This has led to calls to regulate the sale of zero-days, and in response, strongly voiced opinions that such regulation would be a bad idea, and would violate the researchers' right to free speech.

None of the vulnerabilities found by Google will be reported to third-parties, though: only the affected vendor will be notified, and will be given time to patch. Once the bug has been made public (which, Google says, will typically happen "once a patch is available"), it will be added to a public database. This allows anyone to monitor the time it takes vendors to fix vulnerabilities.

Unless you have an interest in the use or sale of vulnerabilities, it is hard not to see this as a good development. Google researchers have already discovered a number of high-profile vulnerabilities, with Heartbleed being the most prominent among them. The fact that they have now set up a team dedicated to finding vulnerabilities is in the interest of Internet users in general, and likely potential victims of targeted attacks in particular.

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Martijn Grooten

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

Red Eyes threat group targets North Korean defectors

A research paper by AhnLab researcher Minseok Cha looks at the activities of the Red Eyes threat group (also known as Group 123 and APT 37), whose targets include North Korean defectors, as well as journalists and human rights defenders focused on…

VB announces Threat Intelligence Summit to take place during VB2018

We are very excited to announce a special summit, as part of VB2018, that will be dedicated to all aspects of threat intelligence.

VB2018 Small Talk: An industry approach for unwanted software criteria and clean requirements

An industry approach for defining and detecting unwanted software to be presented and discussed at the Virus Bulletin conference.

VB2018 call for last-minute papers opened

The call for last-minute papers for VB2018 is now open. Submit before 2 September to have your abstract considered for one of the nine slots reserved for 'hot' research.

VB2017 paper and update: Browser attack points still abused by banking trojans

At VB2017, ESET researchers Peter Kálnai and Michal Poslušný looked at how banking malware interacts with browsers. Today we publish their paper, share the video of their presentation, and also publish a guest blog post from Peter, in which he…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.