Microsoft Launches $250,000 BlueHat Security Contest

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Today at the BlackHat Security Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced the BlueHat Prize contest, an initiative designed to generate ideas for improving computer security. A grand total of $250,000 will be offered to three prize winners, with first prize earning the winner a $200,000 check, second prize earning a check for $50,000, and third prize valued at $10,000 (in the form of a MSDN Universal subscription.)

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The Microsoft BlueHat Prize contest website provides some additional details on what problems Microsoft wants contest entrants to address, with the following details provided by digging into the official contest rules and regulations:

The object of this Contest is to design a novel runtime mitigation technology solution that is capable of preventing the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities. For purposes of this Contest, each prototype that is capable of protecting an application that runs on Windows you create and submit in the Contest will be called an "entry."

In a statement announcing the contest, Katie Moussouris (@k8em0), senior security strategist lead for the Microsoft Security Response Center, stated that Microsoft is looking for new ways to encourage development of promising security solutions. "Microsoft wants to encourage more security experts to think about ways to reduce threats to computing devices," Moussouris said. "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."

Entries for the Microsoft BlueHat Prize can be sent to bluehatprize@microsoft.com between August 3rd, 2011 to April 1st, 2012. The winning three entries will be announced at the next Black Hat USA conference in 2012.

Thinking of entering the contest for a shot at the $200,000 grand prize? Feel free to add a comment to this blog post or start up a discussion on Twitter.

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Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on Aug 10, 2011
The premise is quite short-sighted. Here is a key statement: "For purposes of this Contest, each prototype that is capable of protecting an application that runs on Windows you create and submit in the Contest will be called an "entry."" Well, this BlueHat thing obviously is NOT thought through very well. It should be modified to award based on the best IDEA/THEORETICAL DESIGN - not everyone; and I would say MOST people are not going to be able to provide a "working prototype." By expecting a "working prototype," Microsoft is STIFLING the creativity of a large part of its user base. Many people will have highly-viable ideas, but no means to develop a prototype. Thanks.

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