The Mozilla Foundation, maker of the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail application, is offering a US$500 bounty to users who identify and report bugs found in its open-source software.
Foundation staff will determine who earns the cash prize.
Mozilla launched the initiative on Monday with funding from Linux software developer Linspire and Internet entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth.
The goal of the Mozilla Security Bug Bounty Program is to encourage users to identify and report security bugs, according to a statement.
"This program reflects our commitment to protecting consumers from malicious actors," said Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Foundation, in the statement. "Recent events illustrate the need for this type of commitment. While no software is immune from security vulnerabilities, bugs in open-source projects are often identified and fixed more quickly."
Mitchell said the program will help Mozilla unearth security issues earlier and get a head start on correcting vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious hackers.
The Mozilla Foundation is soliciting donations for the program from its users and supporters.