Microsoft offers over $250,000 for better online defenses

With cyber attacks and other threats getting more and more attention lately, Microsoft is stepping up and giving cyber securities researchers a big incentive to create improvements for defensive based security efforts. This week, Microsoft launched the BlueHat prize during the annual Black Hat conference. This new competition will give out over $250,000 for “novel runtime mitigation technology designed to prevent the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities.” The top prize is $200,000 while the runner up gets $50,000. A second runner up will get a MSDN Universal subscription that’s valued at $10,000. Entries will be accepted until April 1, 2012. The winners will be announced at the 2012 edition of the Black Hat conference.

Microsoft hopes that the new BlueHat competition will encourage researchers in cyber security to create new and better ways to stop outside threats to PCs and other electronic devices. Microsoft’s press release that announced the BlueHat prize quotes Katie Moussouris, the company’s senior security strategist lead, as saying, “We’re looking to collaborate with others to build solutions to tough industry problems. We believe the BlueHat Prize will encourage the world’s most talented researchers and academics to tackle key security challenges and offer them a chance to impact the world.”

Microsoft’s new BlueHat competition comes after the social networking service Facebook announced that it will be paying $500 to people who discover specific bugs on the Facebook web site. Microsoft also has another $250,000 it plans to give out to anyone who helps discover who was running Rustock, a spam-themed botnet operation that was recently shut down.

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