Google says it mistakenly paid $250,000 to an alleged hacker: NPR

The Google logo on a building on the company’s campus in Mountain View, California in 2019. The company says it mistakenly sent a $250,000 security engineer.

Jeff Chiu/AFP


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Jeff Chiu/AFP


The Google logo on a building on the company’s campus in Mountain View, California in 2019. The company says it mistakenly sent a $250,000 security engineer.

Jeff Chiu/AFP

Sam Curry, a self-described hacker, says he mysteriously received $249,999.99 from Google last month and that he had no idea why the tech giant was handed over a quarter of a million dollars.

“It’s been over 3 weeks since Google randomly sent me $249,999 and I still haven’t heard anything about the support card. Is there any way we can contact Google”, Curry tweeted on Tuesday With a screenshot of the transaction.

He added, “It’s okay if you don’t want to take it back…”

Carey, a staff security engineer at Yuga Labs, told NPR that he sometimes looks for rewards for companies including Google. This is when people are paid to help companies and other organizations find vulnerabilities in their software.

But he says he was unable to detect a link between Google’s bug bounty search and the amount thrown into his bank account.

The money was available for Curry to spend, but he said he was simply keeping in case Google tried to get it back. He said that if Google takes too long to get back to him, he may have to move the money to a separate account to avoid paying taxes on it.

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In the end, Curry guessed that Google had most likely pushed him by mistake. Turns out he was right.

In a statement to NPR, a Google spokesperson said: “Our team recently made a payment to the wrong party as a result of human error. We appreciate that it was quickly communicated to the affected partner, and we are working to rectify that.”

The spokesman said the company intends to recover the money.

For his part, Carey said he’s curious about how often something like this happens at Google and the systems the company has to check for similar bugs.

As of Thursday afternoon, he said he still had the money in his account.

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