Security Experts:

Tencent Offers Up to $140,000 for Operating System Vulnerabilities

Chinese tech giant Tencent announced this week that it’s prepared to offer rewards of up to $140,000 for critical vulnerabilities found in its TencentOS tiny and TencentOS Server operating systems.

Tencent informed white hat hackers in mid-April that it teamed up with HackerOne for a bug bounty program with rewards of up to $15,000.

The company has now announced that it’s expanding its bug bounty program to cover its operating systems. This initiative, however, will only run until the end of 2020.

TencentOS Server, aka Tencent Linux and Tlinux, is a Linux distribution designed for cloud server applications. TencentOS tiny is an operating system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. They were both made open source over the past year.

Researchers can earn up to $140,000 if they find critical vulnerabilities that can be exploited for remote code execution with root permissions, or to escape a virtual machine and obtain a shell on the host with root privileges.

High-severity vulnerabilities can earn bug bounty hunters up to $40,000. These include local privilege escalation bugs that can be leveraged to elevate permissions to root, and denial-of-services (DoS) flaws — both remote and local DoS — that can cause a server or host virtual machine to break down.

For other types of vulnerabilities, hackers can earn twice the reward typically offered through Tencent’s bug bounty program. Vulnerabilities in third-party components used by these operating systems are not covered.

The Chinese company works with HackerOne to allow researchers registered on the bug bounty platform to test its products, and rewards are paid out through HackerOne. However, the program itself is hosted by the Tencent Security Response Center (TSRC) and security holes must be directly submitted to TSRC.

Tencent reported on Thursday that 50 researchers submitted eligible vulnerabilities in May.

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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.