This Week in Tech: Google’s Big Bug Bounty and Tesla’s “Bulletproof” Truck

Well, it’s been quite the week. While you were busy preparing yourself for some Thanksgiving gluttony, there’s a good chance you may have missed some news in the world of tech. But don’t worry – be thankful that we’ve got you covered. Here’s a rundown of the top tech stories our PR teams have been monitoring throughout the week:

Google ramps up Android’s bounty program

Want to become a millionaire? All you have to do is find a full chain remote code execution exploit with persistence which compromises the Titan M secure element on Pixel devices. Sounds super easy, right?

Not so much. On Thursday, Google announced that it was increasing the top reward for its Android bug bounty program to a whopping $1.5 million. The company is willing to pay this gigantic sum of money to anyone that’s able to find the very complicated exploit described above. The top reward this year was $161,337, with an average payout of around $3,800 – so this could be a hefty pay day for any security researcher that’s looking to retire a little early.

Elon Musk’s event doesn’t go as planned

Tesla unveiled a futuristic pickup truck – aka the Cybertruck – at an event on Thursday. Elon Musk claimed that it was “bulletproof.” But unfortunately, it was not, in fact, bulletproof.

The armored windows shattered when Tesla’s chief designer threw a metal ball at it. Tough look – and a moment that will undoubtedly be going viral. Tesla’s PR people are no strangers to crisis communications, and I’ll be watching to see how this is handled.

TikTok considering a rebrand

The Wall Street Journal reported that TikTok, which has faced increased scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and regulators, has been considering new tactics that would distance itself from China. This could include a rebrand in the U.S. and expanding operations further into Southeast Asia (including Singapore).

Microsoft & Netflix experience outages

Microsoft reported that a networking update caused some Office 365 applications to “intermittently fail” for users on Tuesday night, from around 8pm – midnight ET. Later in the week, Netflix announced that it had fixed an outage that impacted at least 1,000 users across the globe.  We’ve become so accustomed to being able to instantly access both work and entertainment these days, and it’s interesting to see how providers and end-users react and respond when things go down for as little as a couple of hours. The news can spread across major news outlets and social media incredibly quickly, but it was good to see both companies on Twitter keeping customers updated throughout.

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