Feeds

Microsoft to pay $250,000 for hot new security defenses

In search of new ideas

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Microsoft is offering more than $250,000 to researchers who develop new security defenses to protect Windows users against attacks that exploit software bugs.

Microsoft's Blue Hat Prize announced on Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference will pay $200,000 for the best “novel runtime mitigation technology designed to prevent the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities.” The two runners up will receive $50,000 and a MSDN Universal subscription valued at $10,000, respectively.

“The Microsoft BlueHat Prize contest is designed to generate new ideas for defensive approaches to support computer security,” the software maker's announcement stated. “As part of our commitment to a more secure computing experience, we hope to inspire security researchers to develop innovative solutions intended to address serious security threats.”

Microsoft over the years has added an alphabet soup of protections to its software that are designed to mitigate the damage that can be done when hackers discover buffer overflows and other bugs that inevitably afflict any complex piece of code. ASLR, or address space layout randomization; DEP, or data execution prevention; SEHOP, or structured exception handling overwrite protection; and SafeSeh are just some of the examples.

The protections aren't intended to prevent bugs, but rather to prevent attackers from exploiting them to steal data or remotely execute malicious code on vulnerable systems.

“This is the first and largest incentive prize ever offered by Microsoft, and possibly the industry, for defensive computer security technology,” Matt Thomlinson, general manager of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, wrote here. “In the age of increased risk of attacks on personal, corporate and government computer systems, Microsoft recognizes the need to encourage and nurture innovation in the area of exploit mitigations.

Wednesday's announcement came a week after Facebook joined Mozilla and Google in paying cash bounties to researchers who privately report security vulnerabilities in their software and services. Microsoft continues to steadfastly refuse to reimburse bug discoverers for the time and expertise they provide in helping stamp out bugs on the Windows platform.

Contest rules are here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?