Microsoft Launches Windows Bug Bounty Program Because Late Is Better Than Never

Microsoft launches Windows bug bounty program with rewards ranging from $500 to $250,000

The continuation of the Bounty program is going to be for an indefinite period at the sole discretion of Microsoft.

"In the spirit of maintaining a high security bar in Windows, we're launching the Windows Bounty Program on July 26, 2017", wrote the Microsoft Security Response Center team announcing the news in a post on the company's TechNet blog. It should be worth noted that is not the first bounty program to target Windows features - as the software giant has launched many Windows-specific bounties starting way back in 2012. Microsoft's new program not only covers Windows 10 but also Windows Insider Preview which is geared towards testing new preview builds of its operating system as well. The company has also announced payouts for vulnerabilities in beta-release software available in the Slow Ring of the Windows Insider programme, including $500 to $30,000 (£383 to £23,001) for flaws in the Windows Defender Application Guard and $500 to $15,000 (£383 to £11,501) for flaws in Microsoft Edge or the underlying Windows operating system itself.

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Bounty payouts will range from $500 United States dollars to $250,000 USD.

While users will be limited in their ability to submit patches for the issues found in the Windows bug bounty program as Windows is closed source (which can bring inherent security issues), just having the bug reports themselves will benefit Microsoft substantially with improving the security of their products, as Microsoft will be able to utilize the reports to investigate and patch the issues themselves once they are notified of the issues' existence.

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The Mitigation Bypass and Bounty program's highest reward of $200,000, but there you can exclusively target Windows 10. A researcher finding and reporting a remote code execution flaw in Windows with a high quality proof of concept can find themselves eligible for a $15,000 payout. The addition of a Windows Bug Bounty program comes as part of a comprehensive effort by Microsoft to improve their responsiveness and defences against security vulnerabilities. Paying a bounty costs the company only a little compared to fixing loopholes after it's too late.

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