Mozilla has long had a policy of offering a monetary reward to developers who find new security vulnerabilities in the Firefox Web browser. In a recent change of policy, the organization has bumped the bounty from a modest $500 to $3,000. The offer has also been extended to Firefox Mobile and other new products.
The discovery of a previously unknown security vulnerability opens up a lot of opportunities for profit. Security researchers can get a ton of press exposure and publicity by publishing an exploit of an unpatched zero-day flaw. It is also increasingly common for security researchers to sit on undisclosed vulnerabilities for a long time so that they can whip them out for a quick and easy win during competitions that offer cash prizes.
It's clear that perceptions about vulnerability disclosure and the value of security bugs are changing in the software industry. Following the Pwn2Own competition last year at CanSecWest, security researcher Charlie Miller gained attention for his controversial "NO MORE FREE BUGS" campaign. He contends that vendors should pay for knowledge about previously undocumented vulnerabilities.
Mozilla's decision to offer $3,000 for legitimate new security threats is beneficial to users because it will encourage timely and responsible disclosure of new exploitable flaws.
Source: ars technica