Today VeriSign's iDefense Labs announced the list of winners for the First Annual Vulnerability Contributor Program (VCP) Challenge. In 2008 iDefense scrapped their old Quarterly Challenge Program, whose prizes averaged around $5000, for an annual program with more substantial prizes. Says Andrew Scholnick, Director of the iDefense Labs and its VCP; "Our intention in the VCP is to provide substantial reward to those vulnerability researchers who choose the ethical path outlined by our Responsible Disclosure policy. It is a firm belief at iDefense that Full Disclosure programs, and even the more restrained Partial Disclosure policies of certain 'high profile' researchers, simply cause too much damage. We are trying to make the point to all vulnerability researchers that, although the Responsible Disclosure process can be slower than less ethical methods at times, it is the most appropriate way to receive competitive compensation and recognition for their efforts."
The new Annual Challenge awards prizes for the top overall contributors to the iDefense Labs VCP and/or the top quality individual VCP submissions processed by iDefense within a challenge year. The prizes being awarded today include: * Grand Prize - $50,000 (US) - Michal "regenrecht" Luczaj * First Prize - $25,000 (US) - VCP researcher "Zdenda" * Second Prize - $10,000 (US) - An anonymous contributor from Russia. * Tied for Third Prize - $5,000 (US) - VCP researcher "sef0cus" * Tied for Third Prize - $5,000 (US) - Silvio Cesare of Australia * Honorable Mention - iPod nano - Javier Vicente Vallejo * Honorable Mention - iPod nano - Stephen Fewer of Harmony Security
Michal Luczaj was selected as the Grand Prize winner this year both for the Sun Java JRE Decompression vulnerability he submitted in September (disclosed by Sun Microsystems on December 2), and the consistent high quality of his research submissions (over a dozen this year). Aside from being the first winner of the annual $50,000 Grand Prize, Mr. Luczaj has seen his average payments from iDefense more than double in the past six months as a result of the new payment structure in the VCP.
Since July 2008, iDefense has given a major overhaul to its Vulnerability Contributor Program (VCP). Among the improvements were a re-structuring of the program's compensation guidelines to offer in the neighborhood of $15,000 for the best-researched, high-impact vulnerabilities; the streamlining of the VCP program requirements and guidelines; a revitalization of the iDefense Labs website; and the introduction of a portal for the secure submission and tracking of vulnerability research.
"Awarding the best VCP researchers such significant prizes, and paying more for individual submissions, helps us stay ahead of the bad guys. The iDefense Labs primary goal is to advance the state of the art. We are constantly honing our abilities and introducing innovations that facilitate the science of vulnerability research."