Microsoft launched a program for hackers and tech gurus to tune in and earn some big bucks by helping out the Internet Explorer team with hunting down security vulnerabilities. The reward was stated to be up to $11,000 per bug. Today, Katie Moussouris, Senior Security Strategist at Microsoft, has announced on TechNet that over $28,000 has been given away to community members who have worked with the company.
As well as the massive amount of money paid out to help make IE a safer and more secure web browser for consumers, Moussouris also touched on how they're working with more researchers than before. Being able to draw on well-established names directly helps Microsoft ensure its products are more secure at launch - and when it comes to a web browser, this is fairly important.
During the first 30 days of the Internet Explorer 11 preview period, the team received several vulnerability reports that qualified for a bounty. Compare this to the first 30 days of the IE10 beta, where the team received no bulletin-class reports at all. Sure, there's money involved, which is an obvious incentive, but to have such interaction from the community even with a bounty system in place is a big step forward.
Internet Explorer wasn't the only product to be targetted by a bounty program. Windows 8.1 was also sent under the microscope with a massive reward of up to $100,000 for finding security flaws and bugs. It's refreshing to see Microsoft head down the route of inviting the community to help perfect its products and services for rewards, before releasing said properties for consumers to use.
Internet Explorer is currently in a release preview. Should you be super excited about the release of Windows 8.1, you can pre-order a copy for $119 (if you already have Windows 8, the upgrade is free and will be released on October 17th).