Microsoft launches Windows bug bounty program with payouts of up to $250,000

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

While the company has had a number of previous bug bounty programs, this is the first one to target features in its Windows operating system specifically.

The software giant's expanding things a bit today, with the simply named "Windows Bounty Program". Even so, that marks a change from the way many other companies approach their respective programs, declining bounties for exploits that had already been discovered internally but not yet disclosed.

Remote code execution bugs can net finders up to $15,000, elevation of privilege flaws up to $10,000, and information disclosure, remote DoS, and spoofing bugs up to $5,000.

Microsoft has launched a new bug bounty programme for Windows, which aims to maintain its "high security bar".

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

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If you're interested in the maximum quarter-million bounty, your only option is Hyper-V program, although you have multiple operating systems to choose from: Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server Insider Preview.

The three other focus areas for the bounty program are mitigation bypass ($500 to $200,000 payout range), Windows Defender Application Guard ($500 to $30,000), and Microsoft Edge ($500 to $15,000).

"All security bugs are important to us and we request you report all security bugs", the company explains.

The Mitigation Bypass and Bounty program's highest reward of $200,000, but there you can exclusively target Windows 10.

Researchers who find and report critical holes in Hyper-V for versions of Windows including Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 are eligible for the top reward of $250,000. Nevertheless, Microsoft will benefit from the bug reporting alone, as it can then design a fix to enhance the security of its products. Rewarding security researchers with bounties costs peanuts compared to paying for a serious security snafu.

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