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January 25th, 2013

Introducing the New Avast Bug Bounty Program

Hello Avast fans!

No Bugs

It is my pleasure to officially announce the new Avast bug bounty program. As a security company, we very much realize that security bugs in software are reality. But we also realize that companies that are able to use their user communities to find and fix bugs are generally more successful that those that don’t. Therefore, we have decided to reward individuals who help us find and fix security-related bugs in our own software. This makes us probably the first security vendor with a reward program like this: I think it’s mainly because the other companies generally take the position that ‘Hey, we’re a security company. So we know security and it can’t happen to us.’ But in reality, that’s not what’s happening. Just look at bugtraq or the CVE databases and you will find that security software is no more immune to these issues than any other programs. A bit of irony, given that people generally install security software to fight security issues in the first place, isn’t it?

We at Avast take this very seriously. We know that being a market leader (Avast has more users than any other AV company in the world), we’re a very attractive target for the attackers. So, here’s our call to action: let’s unite and find and fix those bugs before the bad guys do!

 

Here’s how it works:

  • The bounty program is designed for security-related bugs only. Sorry, we’re not paying for other types of issues like bugs in the UI, localization etc. (nevertheless, if you find such a bug, we will of course very much appreciate if you report it).
  • This program is currently intended only for our product, i.e. not the website etc.
  • We’re generally only interested in these types of bugs (in the order of importance):
    • Remote code execution. These are the most critical bugs.
    • Local privilege escalation. That is, using Avast to e.g. gain admin rights from a non-admin account.
    • Denial-of-service (DoS). In case of Avast, that would typically be BSODs or crashes of the AvastSvc.exe process.
    • Escapes from the avast! Sandbox (via bugs in our code)
    • Certain scanner bypasses. These include include straightforward, clear bypasses (i.e. scenarios that lead to direct infection, with no additional user input), as opposed to things like deficiencies in the unpacking engine etc. In other words, we’re interested only in cases that cannot be mitigated by adding a new virus definition (please don’t report undetected malware)
    • Other bugs with serious security implications (will be considered on a case by case basis).
  • The base payment is $200 per bug. Depending on the criticality of the bug (as well as its neatness) the bounty will go much higher (each bug will be judged independently by a panel of experts). Remote code execution bugs will pay at least  $3,000 – $5,000 or more.
  • We might change these ranges based on the number and quality of incoming reports. Generally, the less reports we will get, the higher the bounty will go.
  • We will only pay for bugs in Avast itself. For example, if you find a bug in a Microsoft library (even if it’s used by Avast), please report it to Microsoft instead (it would be great if you could also notify us, but unfortunately, we cannot offer any reward in such cases).
  • The program is currently limited to consumer Windows versions of Avast (i.e.: Avast Free Antivirus, Avast Pro Antivirus, and Avast Internet Security). Only bugs in the latest shipping versions of these products will be considered.
  • Payment will be done preferably by PayPal. If you can’t accept PayPal (e.g. because it doesn’t work in your country), please get in touch with us and we will try to figure out something else.
  • Because of certain legal restrictions, we cannot accept submissions from the following countries: Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan.
  • It is the researcher’s own responsibility to pay any taxes and other applicable fees in their country of residence.
  • In order to be eligible for the bounty, the bug must be original and previously unreported.
  • If two or more researchers happen to find the same bug, the bounty will be paid only to the one whose submission came in first.
  • You must not publicly disclose the bug until after an updated version of Avast that fixes the bug is released. Otherwise, the bounty will not be paid.
  • The bounty will be paid only after we fix the issue (or, in specific cases, decide to not fix it).
  • Some bugs may take longer to correct. We will do our best to fix any critical bugs in a timely fashion. We appreciate your patience.
  • Employees of AVAST and their close relatives (parents, siblings, children, or spouse) and AVAST business partners, agencies, distributors, and their employees are excluded from this program.
  • We reserve the right to change the rules of the program or to cancel it at any time.

 

How to report a bug and qualify for the bounty:

  • Please submit the bug to a special email address bugs@avast.com
  • If you’d like to encrypt your email (recommended), please use this PGP key.
  • A good bug report needs to contain sufficient information to reliably reproduce the bug on our side. Please include all information that may be relevant – your exact environment, detailed bug description, sample code (if applicable) etc. It also needs to contain a decent analysis – this is a program designed for security researchers and software developers and we expect certain quality level.
  • You will receive a response from an Avast team member acknowledging receipt of your email, typically within 24 hrs. If you do not receive a response, please do not assume we’re ignoring you – we will do our best to follow up with you asap. Also, in such a case it is possible your email didn’t make it through a spam filter.

 

Finally, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who helps to find and fix bugs in our products. Hopefully, this new reward program will take this initiative to a whole new level.

Happy [bug]hunting!

 

P.S. The bug bounty rules are also available on our main website here.

 

Categories: Technology, Uncategorized, Virus Lab Tags:
  1. January 25th, 2013 at 19:20 | #1

    THANK YOU for all the emails about the BUGS in our WEB sites. However as mention in this blog post “The program is currently limited to consumer Windows versions of Avast (i.e.: Avast Free Antivirus, Avast Pro Antivirus, and Avast Internet Security). Only bugs in the latest shipping versions of these products will be considered.” therefore those “reports about website” are not eligible for the bug bounty.

    I’m sorry about that. Thank you for your time.

    We are still waiting for the bugs in the consumer Windows versions of Avast! – the latest official version has the build number 7.0.1474 (please report bugs to this version or to the Beta(s) of avast 8)

    best regards
    Lukas.

    PS: I’ll contact all the reporters by email too, of course.

  2. Austin3511
    February 6th, 2013 at 07:04 | #2

    Email Me For Information On A Bug(3).

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