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By 5 August 2011 | Categories: news

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Amidst recent hacking against high profile technology companies, including Sony’s Playstation Network, Microsoft has come up with a novel approach to foil the cyber invaders: offer $250 000 (approximately R1 700 000) to the public for developing a new computer security protection technology.

The company announced the BlueHat Prize competition this week at the BlackHat conference in Las Vegas, calling for contestants to design effective ways of preventing the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities.

Prize Access

The top winners in the BlueHat Prize competition would earn a combined $250 000 cash prize of $200 000 (R1 360 000) for the grand prize, and $50 000 (R340 000) for second place. The competition, which began on Wednesday, will run until April 1st 2012, and is open to residents of all countries except Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Additionally, the competition is open to professionals and hobbyists in the field of software security who are fourteen years of age or older.

Matt Thomlinson, the general manager, Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft, explained that the company recognised the need to stimulate research in the area of defensive computer security technology, particularly as the risk of criminal attacks on private and government computer systems continued to increase.

Security Incentivised

“Our interest is to promote a focus on developing innovative solutions rather than discovering individual issues. We believe the BlueHat Prize can catalyse defensive efforts to help mitigate entire classes of attacks,” he elaborated.
Katie Moussouris, the senior security strategist lead for the Microsoft Security Response Center, added that the company wanted to encourage more security experts to think about ways to reduce threats to computing devices. She explained that Microsoft believed that the BlueHat Prize would encourage the world’s most talented researchers and academics to tackle key security challenges.

More details can be found at the BlueHatPrize.com, and full terms and conditions of the competition can be found on Microsoft’s website. The winners will be announced at Black Hat USA 2012.

In recent news, the Lulz Security hacking group came out of supposed retirement to target Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.


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