If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, goes an old saying.
That’s how a number of IT organizations started paying bounties for finding bugs. Microsoft’s formal program, started last year but it has been doing it off and on since 2003, is perhaps the best known. On Monday the company’s official responsible for creating, Katie Moussouris it told a Kaspersky analyst summit in Mexico that it has a number of goals in mind.
According to a report in ThreatPost, one of them is to disrupt the legitimate vulnerability market for buying and selling bugs to governments and other agencies. Microsoft’s strategy is to pay big money – up to US$100,000 – for new techniques that can attack Windows. If Microsoft can find and negate unknown vulnerabilities it will help make its products safer.
Researchers at NSS Labs last month suggested that the best way the world can clamp down on malware creators is to simply outbid them for vulnerabilities, perhaps with the help of money from governments.
However, Moussouris says government involvement, which perhaps would mean regulation, would be a mistake.
Given the increasing number of exploits reported at organizations – and they are believed to be only a fraction of the full number – one has to wonder if that’s so.
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