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Google is offering $2.2 million to crack this puzzle

Google will pay you $2.2 million to solve this problem. Images: Getty

Google will pay US$1.5 million (AU$2.2 million) to anyone who can spot bugs in its Pixel smartphones as it ramps up efforts to keep hackers from getting in. 

Previously, the maximum prize for identifying a flaw was US$200,000, but cyber experts will now be able to earn up to US$1.5 million for spotting a problem in the Pixel smartphones’ Titan M security chip.

In a statement, Google said the prize is so high due to the Pixel 3 with Titan M having the most “strong” ratings in all devices evaluated by research company Gartner this year. 

The prize money is so high to deter cyber-security experts from selling Google’s flaws to malicious actors. 

But in order to claim Google’s prize, the researcher will need to be able to compromise the Titan M security chip in the Pixel device, while running specific developer preview editions of Android. The chip is designed to protect the phone’s operating system and to store biometric data used to unlock the device. 

Google has offered ‘bug bounties’ since 2015, and paid out a massive US$161,337 this year already. And more than 100 researchers have scored some of that money, with an average pay-out of US$3,800 per finding. 

And two security researchers earlier this month scored US$60,000 for spotting a problem in Amazon Echo Show 5.

Bug bounty contests have also been deployed for elections, with Switzerland in February this year launching a “public intrusion test” encouraging IT specialists and researchers to “challenge the Swiss Post e-voting system with deliberate attacks”. The test came with a total prize pool of 150,000 Swiss Francs (AU$210,000). 

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