LONDON (GN): Google is raising its “reward” for uncovering security flaws in some of its Android smartphones from $200,000 to a maximum of $1.5m.

The new top “prize” is payable to those who spot bugs in the Titan M security chip in Google’s Pixel smartphones, as well as meeting specific criteria.

Google said it had paid out more than $4m to security researchers since 2015.

But security experts have doubts about whether the reward will deter people from making money from criminals. Other firms, including Apple, Buzzfeed, Facebook and Samsung, also offer rewards for reporting security flaws.

Companies run so-called bug bounty schemes to encourage people to report flaws, so that they can be fixed, rather than selling the exploits to criminals.

Black market

The Titan M security chip in Pixel smartphones is designed to protect the integrity of their operating system and to store biometric data, which is used to unlock the phone. To claim the $1.5m reward, a researcher would have to find a way to compromise that chip on a device running specific developer preview editions of Android.

However, one expert suggested the increased bounty was unlikely to change behaviour.

“Just like when Apple raised their bug bounty to $1m, Google’s move won’t compete with the ‘black market’ [of selling to criminals], which can raise prices any time,” said Katie Moussouris, chief executive of Luta Security. “This price for external research raises questions for retention and recruitment of internal talent meant to prevent flaws.”

China’s Chang’e-4 probe resumes work for 12th lunar day

BEIJING (Xinhua) : The lander and rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have resumed work for the 12th lunar day on the far side of the moon after “sleeping” during the extremely cold night.

The lander woke up at 5:03 p.m. Thursday (Beijing Time), and the rover, Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2), awoke at 0:51 a.m. the same day. Both are in normal working order, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration. The rover has traveled about 319 meters on the moon to conduct scientific exploration of the virgin territory.

The Chang’e-4 probe, launched on Dec. 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3, 2019.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The Chang’e-4 probe switched to dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power.