Over the weekend, software giant Microsoft put up some major dollars to stop hackers from breaching Microsoft’s software. And the best way to do that, have a contest. While hackers from around the world converged in Las Vegas this past weekend for Def Con, Microsoft issued a challenge, find ways to prevent attacks on their software and receive $250,000.
The winners of the first ever Blue Hat contest were announced at an elaborate celebration inside a club in Vegas. The party was said to feature a DJ, dancers and explosions of confetti.
Microsoft security response center senior director Mike Reavey announced that the top prize of $200,000 went to Vasilis Pappasfor, a doctoral student, for his “advance in countering the most popular attack techniques we’re seeing today.”
“We posed a challenge to the researcher community and asked them to shift their focus from solely identifying and reporting individual vulnerabilities to investing in new lines of defensive research that could mitigate entire classes of attacks,” Reavey said of the prize.
A prize of $50,000 was awarded to a second place finisher, while the third place winner received a fortune in software from Microsoft. The top three winners entries all “dealt with a way cyber attackers twist snippets of benign software already in a computer system to malicious ends.” In all, the contest received 20 submissions.
Microsoft general manager Matt Thomlinson, “the technology from the finalists has been integrated into a software toolkit for protecting against threats. The Blue Hat prize is more than a competition; it’s the future of security defense, where the community comes together to collectively take on some of the toughest problems we face and make the computing ecosystem safer,” Thomlinson said.