Bug bounty programs are a very efficient way of getting the wider security community involved in helping to protect a piece of software.
Now the company is going a step further with the launch of the Windows Bounty Programme, a bug bounty programme which specifically targets all current versions of the Windows operating system - including those in the Windows Insider beta-test programme - for the first time. The Windows Bounty Program, however, encompasses Windows 10 and even the Windows Insider Preview, the company's program for testing Windows 10 preview builds.
Indeed, in the spirit of helping "maintain a high-security bar in Windows", Microsoft today announced the launch of the Windows Bounty Program. Since then, the company has only increased the scale of the program (and the reward) to include Hyper-V hypervisor, the Edge browser and Windows' exploit mitigation systems, such as DEP and ASLR.
"Any critical or important class remote code execution, elevation of privilege, or design flaws that compromises a customer's privacy and security will receive a bounty", Microsoft said in its blog post.
To be clear, Microsoft already offers many bug bounty programs. So has Windows, but in a limited capacity, as Microsoft always decided what Windows features researchers could probe, and for what amount of time.
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For those interested in the largest bounty of $250,000, the only option is the Hyper-V program though users will be able to look for bugs in Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server Insider Preview.
Rewards range anywhere from $500 right up to $250,000 for the most serious Hyper-V bugs.
Second on the list of priorities is protecting Mitigation Bypass and Bounty for Defense.
Under the new terms, those who find a vulnerability in the slow Windows Insider release track will be awarded $30,000.
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