How Google Changed the Secretive Market for the Most Dangerous Hacks in the World
For five years, Google has funded Project Zero, a team of hackers with the sole mission of finding bugs in whatever software they wanted to research, be it Google’s or somebody else’s. Are they making the internet safer?
A fair bit of fluff, but one solid point.
For one, Project Zero has normalized something that years ago was more controversial: a strict 90-day deadline for companies that receive its bug reports to patch the vulnerabilities. If they don’t patch in that time frame, Google drops the bugs itself. Microsoft, in particular, was not a fan of this policy at the beginning. Today, most companies that interact with Project Zero respect that 90-day deadline as an industry standard, a tidal change in the always controversial debate on the so-called “responsible disclosure”—the idea that security researchers who find vulnerabilities should first disclose them to the affected company, so that it can fix them before the bugs are exploited by hackers. According to its own tally, around 95 percent of bugs reported by Project Zero get patched within that deadline.