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 company has offered bounties for uncovering bugs in certain Windows features since 2012 and began paying up to $100,000 in bug bounties starting in mid-2013, in connection with the launch of Windows 8.1 Preview. 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.

It said any critical or important class remote code execution, elevation of privilege, or design flaws that compromise a customer's privacy and security will receive a bounty. In the years since then, Microsoft's bounty schemes have expanded with specific programs offering rewards for those finding flaws in the Hyper-V hypervisor, Windows' wide range of exploit mitigation systems such as DEP and ASLR, and the Edge browser.

That is now a possibility with Microsoft making Windows a 10 a permanent part of its bug bounty program and increasing monetary rewards. "Microsoft strongly believes in the value of the bug bounties, and we trust that it serves to enhance our security capabilities", the blog post read. For starters, if a Microsoft employee spots an issue first, the company will still offer an award to the first person outside the company who details it - but it will only be 10 percent of the maximum amount offered, meaning it only goes up to $25,000.

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The program will also include bounties for discovering vulnerabilities in four related "focus areas", including Hyper-V, which will feature a payout range of $5,000 to $250,000.

"All security bugs are important to us and we request you report all security bugs", the company explains. The Windows Defender Application Guard program rewards only goes up to $30,000, while the other two, Microsoft Edge and Windows Insider Preview, max out at $15,000.

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