For a while now, Google has had hidden a small team of talented programmers hacking away at some of the most commonly used software on the internet. I say hacking, that is what they are doing in basic terms, but what they are actually tasked and full time employed to do, is fire code at these pieces of software, for example, Microsoft products and websites, until they find a loophole or bug that allows them in to access the code behind the scenes. With that access they can do pretty much anything, taking personal details, controlling your pc etc. Sound familiar? It is exactly what malicious hackers do to that create virus`s that infect your pc for dubious gains.
What Google`s “Project Zero” team are doing, is FINDING these security bugs or loopholes, and giving the software developers a few days, normally 60-90 days to fix it, or they will expose them to the world on their blog, naming and shaming them. When a hack they discover is already in use maliciously, they will give them less time. Today they have announced they do exist and are active in their bug hunting.
They have recruited some of the top hackers in the world for this project. George Holtz for example, at 17 managed to hack into Americans At&T mobile phone lock on the iPhone, At&t panicked until they fixed the bugs. Not long later Hotlz reverse engineered the Playstation 3 allowing homebrew software on it. Sony sued and only settled when Holtz agreed to never hack a Sony product again. A few years later, Holtz hacked Google Chrome and discovered bugs. What did Google do? Paid him a $150,000 reward, and have now hired him for Project Zero. Ben Hawkes, renowned for finding Adobe products bugs and Office bugs. Tavis Ormandy who found that some antivirus software contained security bugs and also, Ian Beer who discovered some major flaws in iOS, Apple OS and Safari, all headed up by Google security engineer Chris Evans, a very respected man in his field.
While at first glance this sounds very cloak and dagger with dark reasons behind it, in reality they are some of the worlds top men workign for one of the worlds top companies trying to find these bugs before any one else and getting the loopholes closed to make us much safer online and keeping our PC`s secure from malicious virii and malware.