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
FluBot Malware's Rapid Spread May Soon Hit US Phones
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/28/2021
Slideshows
7 Modern-Day Cybersecurity Realities
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  4/30/2021
Commentary
How to Secure Employees' Home Wi-Fi Networks
Bert Kashyap, CEO and Co-Founder at SecureW2,  4/28/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
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
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31755
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /goform/setmac allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request.
CVE-2021-31756
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /gofrom/setwanType allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request. This occurs when input vector controlled by malicious attack get copie...
CVE-2021-31757
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /goform/setVLAN allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request.
CVE-2021-31758
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /goform/setportList allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request.
CVE-2021-31458
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected installations of Foxit Reader 10.1.1.37576. User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must visit a malicious page or open a malicious file. The specific flaw exists within the handlin...