Security Experts:

Google Pays Out $50,000 Reward For App Engine Vulnerabilities

For identifying and responsibly disclosing vulnerabilities in Google App Engine for Java, researchers at Poland-based research company Security Explorations have been rewarded by Google with a total of $50,000.

Earlier this month, Security Explorations reported uncovering more than 30 potential flaws affecting Google App Engine, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that allows developers to host, manage and run their apps on the search giant's infrastructure. The researchers submitted proof-of-concept (PoC) code for 20 issues, some of which could have been exploited for a complete sandbox escape.

Following some more aggressive tests conducted by the experts at the beginning of December, Google suspended their Google App Engine account before they could complete their research. However, Google later agreed to allow Security Explorations to continue its analysis.

Security Explorations announced today that Google rewarded its efforts with $50,000, the largest reward paid out by Google so far as part of its Vulnerability Reward Program (VRP). The security firm says it will use the reward for its non-commercial research projects.

"We have filed a total of 30 issues to the company. We received a status report from Google on 24 Dec 2014 informing us that 23 weaknesses have been accepted and 4 are work as intended (WAI) issues (not a bug)," Adam Gowdiak, founder and CEO of Security Explorations, told SecurityWeek.

"Google also informed us that Issues 1-4, 13 have been fixed. On 25 Dec 2014 Google provided additional information to its status report. The company informed that it filled 16 bugs (3 marked as won't fix), 5 bugs are actively worked on and the rest are fixed, although not all pushed to production," Gowdiak added.

Oracle has also reached out to Security Explorations to find out if the any of the bugs affect Oracle products. The security research firm says most of the flaws are specific to the Google environment, but there is one minor issue that Oracle is currently investigating.

Security Explorations reported vulnerabilities to Oracle on several occasions in the past years. In June, researchers announced uncovering a total of 22 flaws in the custom JVM implementation used in Oracle Database. Oracle fixed the issues in October with the Critical Patch Update (CPU).

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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.