Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

8/3/2011
10:01 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Offers Researchers Prize Money For Enhancing Windows Security

New BlueHat Prize contest focused on new ways to defend against memory-safety exploits

BLACK HAT USA 2011 -- Las Vegas -- Microsoft today took a new spin on security researcher bounties by offering more than $250,000 in cash and prizes for contestants who come with new ways to mitigate exploits.

The new BlueHat Prize contest specifically looks for the most innovative methods for exploiting memory-safety vulnerabilities such as return-oriented programming (ROP) and just-in-time spraying (JITSpray). The grand prize is $200,000; second place, $50,000; and third place, an MSDN Universal subscription valued at $10,000. JIT spraying attacks basically are used to cheat Microsoft's address space layout randomization (ASLR) and data execution prevention (DEP) security technologies.

"Microsoft wants to defend against entire classes of attack with the innovation that comes via the BlueHat Prize," Katie Moussouris, senior security strategist lead for the Microsoft Security Response Center, said in a Twitter interview with Dark Reading today. "The BlueHat Prize is looking for mitigations to block memory safety exploitation techniques such as ROP or JITSpray."

Unlike bug bounty programs offered by Google and other vendors, Microsoft instead is looking at getting researchers involved in providing solutions, security experts say.

The software giant traditionally has been opposed to offering money to researchers for vulnerability finds, but Moussouris didn't completely dismiss the possibility of Microsoft someday changing its tune on that. "We continue to evaluate the best way to collaborate with the research community, and we'll let you know if anything changes there," she said when asked whether Microsoft would ever add a bug bounty option.

What happens to the winners' technology? The inventor retains ownership of the intellectual property, and then grants Microsoft a license to the technology; and researchers whose technology is not selected by Microsoft also still own their intellectual property.

The BlueHat Prize contest kicks off today, with a submission deadline of Sunday, April 1, 2012. A panel of Microsoft security engineers will judge the technologies based on practicality and functionality (30 percent); robustness (30 percent); and impact (40 percent). Microsoft will announce winners at Black Hat USA 2012 next summer. Rules and guidelines are here.

Moussouris says Microsoft will decide later whether to make the contest and annual event, and whether to change the criteria. "We'll evaluate the BlueHat Prize this year and see if we end up making changes to the contest after we've run it once," she says.

"We hope that we see not only new platform defense innovation through BlackHat Prize, but also ID new security researcher rock stars," she says. Contestants can be as young as 14.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Former CISA Director Chris Krebs Discusses Risk Management & Threat Intel
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/23/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
Security + Fraud Protection: Your One-Two Punch Against Cyberattacks
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5,  2/23/2021
News
Cybercrime Groups More Prolific, Focus on Healthcare in 2020
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/22/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Building the SOC of the Future
Building the SOC of the Future
Digital transformation, cloud-focused attacks, and a worldwide pandemic. The past year has changed the way business works and the way security teams operate. There is no going back.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-25284
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
An issue was discovered in through SaltStack Salt before 3002.5. salt.modules.cmdmod can log credentials to the info or error log level.
CVE-2021-3144
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
In SaltStack Salt before 3002.5, eauth tokens can be used once after expiration. (They might be used to run command against the salt master or minions.)
CVE-2021-3148
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
An issue was discovered in SaltStack Salt before 3002.5. Sending crafted web requests to the Salt API can result in salt.utils.thin.gen_thin() command injection because of different handling of single versus double quotes. This is related to salt/utils/thin.py.
CVE-2021-3151
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
i-doit before 1.16.0 is affected by Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) issues that could allow remote authenticated attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via C__MONITORING__CONFIG__TITLE, SM2__C__MONITORING__CONFIG__TITLE, C__MONITORING__CONFIG__PATH, SM2__C__MONITORING__CONFIG__PATH, C__M...
CVE-2021-3197
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
An issue was discovered in SaltStack Salt before 3002.5. The salt-api's ssh client is vulnerable to a shell injection by including ProxyCommand in an argument, or via ssh_options provided in an API request.