Google now owns more than half of the educational technology market in the United States on the back of the popularity of its Chromebooks, edging past rivals Apple and Microsoft. With Chromebooks in the hands of so many teachers and students, the security of the computers has become even more important.
The Mountain View-based company, however, is very confident in the security of its Chromebooks. In fact, it is so confident that it is placing a bounty of $100,000 up for grabs to anybody who can develop a persistent compromise of a Chromebook while the computer is in guest mode, even when the computer is rebooted.
Google issued the Chromebook hacking challenge through a post on the Google Security Blog, where the company states that it sees security as a very serious issue.
The Chromebook hacking bounty is part of the Chrome Reward Program, which Google says already had a bounty of $50,000 since last year for any hacker who can prove that they were able to breach the Chromebooks' defenses. No individual has yet to submit a successful hack though, and so Google has decided to double the bounty to $100,000.
Google adds that the reward will be available throughout the year, and there will be no quota or a maximum reward pool associated with it.
It should be noted that Chromebooks are at their most secure while in guest mode, where guest users are able to download files but are prohibited from installing apps. This protects Chromebooks from malicious apps that guests can install, which is one way hackers can infect computers with malware.
In addition, Chromebooks automatically download software updates, run applications and webpages in sandboxes and starts up with a verified boot, which will roll back the computer's operating system if it is detected to have been tampered with.
The Chromebooks' security has been assisted by Google's Security Reward Program, which taps into hackers and researchers as resources to see if any hardware or software come with potential vulnerabilities. The discovered issues are then patched up and the individuals who found them are properly rewarded.
According to Google, it paid researchers over $2,000,000 last year in connection with the program.