Vulnerability Reward Program: 2023 Year in Review (Google Online Security Blog)

Last year, we again witnessed the power of community-driven security efforts as researchers from around the world contributed to help us identify and address thousands of vulnerabilities in our products and services. Working with our dedicated bug hunter community, we awarded $10 million to our 600+ researchers based in 68 countries.

New Resources and Improvements

Just like every year, 2023 brought a series of changes and improvements to our vulnerability reward programs:

Through our new Bonus Awards program, we now periodically offer time-limited, extra rewards for reports to specific VRP targets.

We expanded our exploit reward program to Chrome and Cloud through the launch of v8CTF, a CTF focused on V8, the JavaScript engine that powers Chrome.

We launched Mobile VRP which focuses on first-party Android applications.

Our new Bughunters blog shared ways in which we make the internet, as a whole, safer, and what that journey entails. Take a look at our ever-growing repository of posts!

To further our engagement with top security researchers, we also hosted our yearly security conference ESCAL8 in Tokyo. It included live hacking events and competitions, student training with our init.g workshops, and talks from researchers and Googlers. Stay tuned for details on ESCAL8 2024.

As in past years, we are sharing our 2023 Year in Review statistics across all of our programs. We would like to give a special thank you to all of our dedicated researchers for their continued work with our programs – we look forward to more collaboration in the future!

Android and Google Devices

In 2023, the Android VRP achieved significant milestones, reflecting our dedication to securing the Android ecosystem. We awarded over $3.4 million in rewards to researchers who uncovered remarkable vulnerabilities within Android and increased our maximum reward amount to $15,000 for critical vulnerabilities. We also saw a sharpened focus on higher severity issues as a result of our changes to incentivize report quality and increasing rewards for high and critical severity issues.

Expanding our program’s scope, Wear OS has been added to the program to further incentivize research in new wearable technology to ensure users’ safety.

Working closely with top researchers at the ESCAL8 conference, we also hosted a live hacking event for Wear OS and Android Automotive OS which resulted in $70,000 rewarded to researchers for finding over 20 critical vulnerabilities!

We would also like to spotlight the security conferences. gave us a platform to engage with top hardware security researchers who uncovered over 50 vulnerabilities in Nest, Fitbit, and Wearables, and received a total of $116,000 last year!

The Google Play Security Reward Program continued to foster security research across popular Android apps on Google Play.

A huge thank you to the researchers who made our program such a success. A special shout out to Zinuo Han (@ele7enxxh) of OPPO Amber Security Lab and Yu-Cheng Lin (林禹成) (@AndroBugs) for your hard work and continuing to be some of the top researchers contributing to Android VRPs!


2023 was a year of changes and experimentation for the Chrome VRP. In Chrome Milestone 116, MiraclePtr was launched across all Chrome platforms. This resulted in raising the difficulty of discovery of fully exploitable non-renderer UAFs in Chrome and resulted in lower reward amounts for MiraclePtr-protected UAFs, as highly mitigated security bugs. While code and issues protected by MiraclePtr are expected to be resilient to the exploitation of non-renderer UAFs, the Chrome VRP launched the MiraclePtr Bypass Reward to incentivize research toward discovering potential bypasses of this protection.

The Chrome VRP also launched the Full Chain Exploit Bonus, offering triple the standard full reward amount for the first Chrome full-chain exploit reported and double the standard full reward amount for any follow-up reports. While both of these large incentives have gone unclaimed, we are leaving the door open in 2024 for any researchers looking to take on these challenges.

In 2023, Chrome VRP also introduced increased rewards for V8 bugs in older channels of Chrome, with an additional bonus for bugs existing before M105. This resulted in a few very impactful reports of long-existing V8 bugs, including one report of a V8 JIT optimization bug in Chrome since at least M91, which resulted in a $30,000 reward for that researcher.

All of this resulted in $2.1M in rewards to security researchers for 359 unique reports of Chrome Browser security bugs. We were also able to meet some of our top researchers from previous years who were invited to participate in bugSWAT as part of Google’s ESCAL8 event in Tokyo in October. We capped off the year by publicly announcing our 2023 Top 20 Chrome VRP reporters who received a bonus reward for their contributions.

Thank you to the Chrome VRP security researcher community for your contributions and efforts to help us make Chrome more secure for everyone!

Generative AI

Last year, we also ran a bugSWAT live-hacking event targeting LLM products. Apart from fun, sun, and a lot to do, we also got 35 reports, totaling more than $87,000 – and discovered issues like Johann, Joseph, and Kai’s “Hacking Google Bard – From Prompt Injection to Data Exfiltration” and Roni, Justin, and Joseph’s “We Hacked Google A.I. for $50,000”.

To help AI-focused bughunters know what’s in scope and what’s not, we recently published our criteria for bugs in AI products. This criteria aims to facilitate testing for traditional security vulnerabilities as well as risks specific to AI systems, and is one way that we are implementing the voluntary AI commitments that Google made at the White House in July.

Looking Forward

We remain committed to fostering collaboration, innovation, and transparency with the security community. Our ongoing mission is to stay ahead of emerging threats, adapt to evolving technologies, and continue to strengthen the security posture of Google’s products and services. We look forward to continuing to drive greater advancements in the world of cybersecurity.

A huge thank you to our bug hunter community for helping to make Google products and platforms more safe and secure for our users around the world!

Thank you to Adam Bacchus, Dirk Göhmann, Eduardo Vela, Sarah Jacobus, Amy Ressler, Martin Straka, Jan Keller, Tony Mendez.