As hackers from around the world converged on Las Vegas, Microsoft doled out a quarter million dollars in prize money to researchers who found ways to thwart attacks on its software.
The winners of Microsoft’s first Blue Hat prize were unveiled at a hip club at a mobbed party complete with dancers, high-energy DJ, and explosions of shimmering confetti.
A top prize of $200,000 went to doctoral student Vasilis Pappas for an advance in countering “the most popular attack techniques we’re seeing today,” said Microsoft security response center senior director Mike Reavey.
“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.
Microsoft awarded $50,000 to the second-place finisher, and a fortune in software to the researcher who placed third out of the 20 submissions entered in the Blue Hat competition.