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Security firm iDefense, a subsidiary of VeriSign, announced on Friday the recipients of two rounds of bonuses rewarding the most prolific researchers taking part in the firm's Vulnerability Contributor Program (VCP).

The researchers split $40,000 in bonuses: Three people divvied up $10,000 awarded to the top flaw finders for the quarter, while five researchers received $30,000 split among the most prolific flaw finders for the year. One researcher, identified only by his handle "infamous41md," took home an award in each category for a total of $13,000 in bonuses for the quarter.

The awards come as security researchers are still debating whether such bug bounties help make software more secure. However, despite questionable benefits, the programs are becoming more popular. In July, TippingPoint, a subsidiary of 3Com, announced its own program, the Zero-Day Initiative. And the Mozilla Foundation pays researchers who find serious security holes in its Internet browser.

This year, iDefense has published almost 120 vulnerabilities discovered by participants of the firm's flaw-finding program, according to the company's Web site.

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