Vulnerabilities / Threats
6/19/2013
03:31 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Dangles $100,000 Bug Bounty

One hitch: The bugs might be worth more on the open market.

Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons
Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft on Wednesday said it will begin offering payments of up to $100,000 for "truly novel exploitation techniques" that defeat security protections in Windows 8.1 Preview, the latest version of the company's popular desktop operating system.

As part of the Microsoft Mitigation Bypass Bounty program, the company is also offering up to $50,000 for defensive strategies that mitigate accepted exploits. Microsoft isn't paying for any old bugs; it is specifically interested in exploits that defeat Windows security technologies such as Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR).

In addition, during the beta period between June 26 and July 26, Microsoft will pay up to $11,000 for critical vulnerabilities that affect Internet Explorer 11 Preview.

Windows has long been the dominant operating system on personal computers and, as a result, remains a major target for cybercriminals. Over a decade ago, Microsoft began trying to address the concerted assault on its operating system with its Trustworthy Computing initiative, the result of a directive from Bill Gates, then CEO of the company. The company expanded its commitment to security with programs that followed such as Secure Development Lifecycle and the coordination of industry collaboration programs.

[ Are your Dynamics apps on third-party hosts? Read Microsoft Dynamics Apps Hit Azure Cloud. ]

Although Microsoft clearly recognizes the risk and the value of vulnerabilities -- it provides information about flaws to government agencies before releasing that information to the public -- it has only just awoken to the value of recognizing those who find vulnerabilities.

Mozilla has been offering rewards to security researchers who find bugs in its code since 2004. Google launched its Chrome bug bounty program in late 2010 and has since paid out $828,000 to over 250 researchers. Facebook introduced a bug bounty program in July 2011.

Dozens of companies offer rewards or acknowledgements of some sort to those who provide information about security vulnerabilities. But in the past few years, that recognition has not kept pace with the value of exploit information. Google recently increased its rewards, but a Forbes report last year suggests that quality zero-day vulnerabilities can be sold for $250,000 or more.

"I am a little surprised that it took Microsoft this long to create a bug bounty program," said Chris Wysopal, co-founder and CTO of Veracode, in a blog post. "They seem to be jumping in with a second-generation bug bounty program putting the emphasis on exploitation and valuable mitigation techniques. On the open market these techniques could be used to build many zero-day exploits and [could] possibly command more than the Microsoft bounty..."

At the Black Hat USA 2013 conference, scheduled for July 27-Aug. 1, Microsoft plans to invite anyone who wants to participate in its Mitigation Bypass Bounty to do so live before its judging committee in the Black Hat Sponsor Hall. Black Hat is operated by UBM TechWeb, which also owns InformationWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-6090
Published: 2015-04-27
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in the (1) DataMappingEditorCommands, (2) DatastoreEditorCommands, and (3) IEGEditorCommands servlets in IBM Curam Social Program Management (SPM) 5.2 SP6 before EP6, 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.3 before 6.0.3.0 iFix8, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.5 iFix...

CVE-2014-6092
Published: 2015-04-27
IBM Curam Social Program Management (SPM) 5.2 before SP6 EP6, 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.6, and 6.0.5 before 6.0.5.6 requires failed-login handling for web-service accounts to have the same lockout policy as for standard user accounts, which makes it easier for remote attackers to cause...

CVE-2015-0113
Published: 2015-04-27
The Jazz help system in IBM Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management 4.0 through 5.0.2, Rational Quality Manager 4.0 through 4.0.7 and 5.0 through 5.0.2, Rational Team Concert 4.0 through 4.0.7 and 5.0 through 5.0.2, Rational Requirements Composer 4.0 through 4.0.7, Rational DOORS Next Generation...

CVE-2015-0174
Published: 2015-04-27
The SNMP implementation in IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 8.5 before 8.5.5.5 does not properly handle configuration data, which allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-0175
Published: 2015-04-27
IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 8.5 Liberty Profile before 8.5.5.5 does not properly implement authData elements, which allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.