Google to Pay Out $2.7 Million to Hackers Who Break Into Chrome OS

The tech giant aims to beef up security by getting hackers to pinpoint weaknesses.

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By Laura Entis

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Calling all hackers. Google is handing out the big bucks.

Yesterday, the tech behemoth announced plans for its fourth annual hackathon (called Pwnium 4: "Pwn,"the act of breaking into a computer and owning it, + "ium," a play on the full name for Google Chrome: Chromium) which will take place in Vancouver this March.

Prize money totals exactly $2.71828 million, "the mathematical constant e for the geeks at heart," Google explained. A grand prize of $150,000 will be awarded for Chrome OS exploits that "compromise with device persistence: guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via webpage" i.e. a breach that allows a hacker to control a Chrome OS PC after it reboots. Prizes of $110,000 will be given to those who discover other major holes in the Chrome OS operating system.

Related: No Apologies: On Hack, Snapchat Founder Says, 'We Thought We Had Done Enough'

"Security is a core tenet of Chromium, which is why we hold regular competitions to learn from security researchers. Contests like Pwnium help us make Chromium even more secure," Jorge Lucángeli Obes, Security Engineer at Google and the "Master of Ceremonies," wrote in a post.

Google's hackathon announcement comes days after allegations that a Chrome hack allowed websites to eavesdrop on users.

Despite the central purpose of the event, it won't all be cyber security seriousness. This year, for the first time, Google will reward creative or surprising hacks with "bonuses," usefulness aside.

Related: What to Do If Your Business Gets Hacked

Laura Entis
Laura Entis is a reporter for Fortune.com's Venture section.

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