Microsoft Announces a Contest for Security Researchers

Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group has announced a new initiative to inspire computer security researchers to focus on security defense technologies. The announcement was made today at the Black Hat 2011 security conference in Las Vegas. The inaugural Microsoft BlueHat Prize intends to encourage the world’s most talented researchers and academics to tackle key security challenges and generate original ideas to protect customers and provide a more secure computing experience.


The BlueHat Prize is the first and largest award offered by Microsoft for defensive computer security technology. With over a quarter million dollars in cash and prizes, the BlueHat Prize will motivate the community and foster greater collaboration with researchers across the industry. Researchers will own the intellectual property from their inventions and Microsoft will be able to use the technology under a royalty-free license.

Microsoft wants to encourage more security experts to think about ways to reduce threats to computing devices. 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.

– Katie Moussouris, senior security strategist lead for the Microsoft Security Response Center

The contest challenges security researchers to design innovative solutions to address serious security threats such as Data Execution Prevention (DEP) which helps prevent attacks that attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in software. The solution considered to be the most innovative by the Microsoft BlueHat Prize board will be presented the grand prize of US $200,000. A second prize of US $50,000 and a third prize of MSDN Universal subscription (valued at US $10,000) will also be given away.

The contest entries should be emailed to [email protected] between August 3rd 2011 to April 1st 2012. Microsoft will judge entries based on practicality and functionality, robustness, and the impact. The winning entry will be announced at Black Hat USA 2012.

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Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.