Microsoft Expands Mitigation Bypass Bounty

Microsoft have expanded their mitigation bypass bounty to include not just bypass techniques researched and developed specifically for the program, but also bypass techniques observed in the wild, thereby vastly increasing the number of researchers looking and the chance of finding something novel.

Today’s news means we are going from accepting entries from only a handful of individuals capable of inventing new mitigation bypass techniques on their own, to potentially thousands of individuals or organizations who find attacks in the wild. Now, both finders and discoverers can turn in new techniques for $100,000.
Increasing the chance of finding a novel technique is only the first benefit that Microsoft hope to gain from this expansion, as they point out in the quote below they are also hoping to have an influence on the underground vulnerability markets, increasing the costs to those looking to buy exploits.  This is a nice use of market forces to drive security benefit, artificially increasing the cost to the bad guys, I wonder who has more money... (and no, I'm not going down the rabbit hole of nation state actors)
This evolution of our bounty programs is designed to further disrupt the vulnerability and exploit markets. Currently, black markets pay high prices for vulnerabilities and exploits based on factors that include exclusivity and longevity of usefulness before a vendor discovers and mitigates it.
The use of market forces to drive up the cost of exploits ties in quite nicely with some discussions I've been having recently about raising the entry criteria for attackers, be it at a micro level such as what you might be doing in your organisation or a macro level such as what Microsoft are doing here. Attempting to 'raise the bar' for adversaries, either by technical or financial means is nothing new, this is the point of every security control or bug bounty program.  What is different from other bounty programs with this effort and its predecessor is that Microsoft is incentivising researchers to find new defensive strategies rather than individual vulnerabilities with point solutions, effectively eliminating whole classes of vulnerabilities.

1 Response to "Microsoft Expands Mitigation Bypass Bounty"

  1. Extremely useful information which you have shared here. This is a great way to enhance knowledge for us, and also helpful for us. Thankful to you for sharing an article like vapor mitigation.

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