Security Experts:

Google Promises Upfront Financial Help for Securing Open Source Projects

Six years into running the Patch Rewards Program to help improve the security of open source projects, Google has decided to provide upfront financial support for such initiatives.

The program has so far rewarded third-party open source projects for security improvements, but only after they have been implemented. The tech giant has decided to change the 2020 iteration of the program and provide both proactive and upfront rewards.

“Over the last six years, we have rewarded open source projects for security improvements after they have been implemented. While this has led to overall improved security, we want to take this one step further,” Google says.

Starting January 1, 2020, in addition to rewarding security improvements after they have been completed, the company will provide an additional resource in the form of upfront payments, so that open source developers can prioritize security work.

“For example, if you are a small open source project and you want to improve security, but don’t have the necessary resources, this new reward can help you acquire additional development capacity,” Google reveals.

There will be two initial support levels, a small one ($5,000), to motivate and reward projects that address a small number of vulnerabilities, and a large one ($30,000), to determine larger projects to invest heavily in security.

Any open source project can be nominated for support and anyone can make a nomination, at

Google’s Patch Reward Panel will review the submissions each month and will choose a number of projects that meet the program criteria. Submitors will be informed when a project has been chosen and the panel will start working with the project maintainers directly.

“When selecting projects, the panel will put an emphasis on projects that either are vital to the health of the Internet or are end-user projects with a large user base,” Google says.

The company expects the program to materialize in security improvements made to open source software.

“Ideally, the project can provide us with a short blurb or pointers to some of the completed work that was possible because of our support. We don’t want to add bureaucracy, but would like to measure the success of the program,” the Internet giant says.

The current Patch Rewards Program will continue as it is — the upfront financial support announced this week is only an addition to it.

Related: New GitHub Security Lab Aims to Secure Open Source Software

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Related: Open Source Vulnerabilities: Are You Prepared to Run the Race?

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