Security Experts:

Tor Project to Launch Bug Bounty Program

The Tor Project, the organization behind the Tor anonymity network, announced this week at a security conference that it plans on launching a bug bounty program.

Tor Project co-founder Roger Dingledine, Tor Browser lead developer Mike Perry, and the Tor Project’s new executive director Shari Steele on Tuesday held a talk titled “The State of the Onion” at the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress (32C3) in Germany.

In 2016, the Tor Project intends to roll out several security enhancements for Tor Browser, including a multiprocess sandbox, application-level sandboxing, and Mac OS signing.

The organization will also launch a bug bounty program via the HackerOne platform, which is used by major companies such as Twitter, Adobe, Yahoo! and LinkedIn.

The program will initially be invite-only, but the Tor Project has promised to make it public later in the year. The goal, according to Perry, is to provide incentive for security experts to review Tor Browser code in an effort to find vulnerabilities that might be specific to the application.

It’s unclear at this point what types of rewards the Tor Project plans on offering, but additional details will be made available in the upcoming period. It’s worth noting that exploit acquisition firm Zerodium is prepared to offer up to $30,000 for remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities in Tor Browser.

An increasing number of organizations have launched bug bounty programs to secure their products and many prefer the invitation-only approach thanks to its better signal-to-noise ratio when compared to public programs.

The announcement that Tor will have a bug bounty program comes shortly after the Tor Project accused Carnegie Mellon University of getting at least $1 million from the FBI in exchange for helping the agency unmask users. Both the FBI and the university said the reports were inaccurate.

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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.