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Facebook Offering Big Rewards for Vulnerabilities in Hermes, Spark AR

Facebook announced on Friday that it’s offering significant rewards through its bug bounty program for vulnerabilities found in Hermes and Spark AR.

Hermes is a JavaScript engine that Facebook released as open source one year ago. Hermes is used by the social media giant’s React Native apps for Android and other software, including Spark AR, an augmented reality platform that is used to create effects on Facebook, Instagram and even on Facebook’s Portal smart displays.

Vulnerabilities found in native Facebook code have been covered by its bug bounty program, but the company says it wants to encourage security researchers to analyze Hermes and Spark AR, which is why it has significantly increased bug bounties.

For example, a white hat hacker can earn $25,000 if they report a vulnerability or an exploit chain that allows remote code execution when running a Spark AR effect. The exploit can target either the Spark AR platform directly or the Hermes JavaScript VM.

“The amount may be adjusted depending on the particular bug and exploit. For example, an exploit chain missing an ASLR bypass may result in a slightly lower payout. Similarly, an out-of-bounds write where there isn’t a clear path to RCE will receive a lower payout,” Facebook explained.

A vulnerability that allows an attacker to read user data can be worth, on average, $15,000. Denial-of-service (DoS) flaws resulting from out-of-bounds read or write bugs can earn researchers between $500 and $3,000.

They can also earn a bonus of up to $15,000 if they provide a full proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit, which means that they could receive $40,000 for a remote code execution vulnerability.

Last year, Facebook paid out more than $2.2 million through its bug bounty program, and a total of nearly $10 million since the launch of its program in 2011.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.