Security Experts:

Qualcomm Bug Bounty Program Offers $15,000 Payouts

Semiconductor and telecommunications giant Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) announced on Thursday the launch of a bug bounty program with rewards of up to $15,000 for each vulnerability found in its products.

Hundreds of millions of Android devices have been exposed to attacks in the past months due to vulnerabilities in Qualcomm components, including the recently disclosed security bugs known as QuadRooter.

The company is hoping that researchers can find these types of flaws faster than the bad guys so it has launched a new HackerOne-powered bug bounty program that promises both money and recognition.

The program covers several Snapdragon chipset families used in smartphones and tablets from Google, LG, Motorola, Sony, Asus, HTC, Samsung, Microsoft, BlackBerry and others.

Qualcomm is particularly interested in vulnerabilities affecting the Linux kernel code in “Android for MSM” (version 3.14 or newer), the bootloader, cellular modems, WLAN and Bluetooth firmware, programs running with root or system privileges, and the Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment (QSEE) on Trustzone.

The highest reward, up to $15,000, can be earned for critical vulnerabilities in cellular modems. Critical flaws in QSEE and the bootloader can earn hackers $9,000, while application processor software weaknesses are rewarded with up to $8,000.

High-severity vulnerabilities are worth up to $5,000 if they affect cellular modems, the trusted execution environment or the bootloader, and up to $4,000 if they impact application processor software. The maximum reward for medium- and low-severity flaws is $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

Qualcomm pointed out that critical vulnerabilities include remote code execution, permanent remote denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and bypassing or disabling important security systems. Local privilege escalation, confidential device or user information disclosure, and temporary remote DoS attacks are rated high severity.

Depending on the nature of the security holes, experts who submit eligible reports will also be mentioned in the QTI Product Security Hall of Fame or the CodeAuroraForum Hall of Fame.

The company said it will not reward local DoS issues or vulnerabilities caused by device manufacturer misconfigurations or OEM modifications.

The program is invitation-only, but more than 40 researchers who disclosed vulnerabilities in the past have already been asked to participate. Qualcomm plans on gradually inviting other security experts.

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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.