What you need to know

  • Microsoft launched the Azure Security lab to improve cloud security testing.
  • Microsoft increased several bug bounties to test security.
  • Financial rewards of up to $300,000 are available.

Microsoft announced a new Azure Security Lab, and several bug bounty increases to help improve cloud security. Microsoft is doubling the top bounty for Azure vulnerabilities to $40,000 and introducing several bounties related to the Azure Security Lab. Microsoft also formalized a two-decade commitment to the principle of safe harbor.

Azure Security Lab is a customer-safe cloud environment that allows individuals to attempt to hack Azure technologies without putting general users at risk. Azure Security Lab is unique because it is isolated from general users. That means that scenario-based challenges can be attempted and normal Azure users won't be affected. Microsoft announced a top award for these challenges of $300,000. The increased awards are broken down on the Azure Bounty Program page. Microsoft outlined all of the security announcements in a recent post (via ZDNet).

The Azure Security Lab is a set of dedicated cloud hosts for security researchers to test attacks against IaaS scenarios, and which is isolated from Azure customers. As well as offering a secure testing space, the lab program will enable participating researchers to engage directly with Microsoft Azure security experts. Accepted applicants will have access to quarterly campaigns for targeted scenarios with added incentives, as well as regular recognition and exclusive swag.

Microsoft opened applications to join the Azure Security Lab today, inviting select individuals to "come and do their worst to emulate criminal hackers." To apply, you can use Microsoft's request form. Financial rewards of up to $300,000 are available.

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Additionally, Microsoft has formalized its commitment to Safe Harbor principles. These principles help ensure that individuals can report vulnerabilities and security issues without risking legal consequences.

Portable (and affordable) power accessories we love

Each and every one of these charging gadgets will keep your favorite gear and gadgets going for longer, and none of them costs more than $30.

VisionTek 8,000 mAh micro-USB power bank ($13 at Dell)

This compact dual-output powerbank can speedily recharge any and all your devices, thanks to a two-amp "fast charge feature," using its micro-USB out port. Its simple design includes an LED indicator, and it costs about as much as a single ticket to the movies.

Panasonic eneloop AA batteries (From $13 at Dell)

Panasonic's rechargeable batteries are among the best available, and just a couple of them will keep your favorite remote, mice or other peripherals powered up when you need them. They're also eco. And the company's affordable charger fits and charges both AA and AAA batteries at the same time.

Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad ($30 at Dell)

This unobtrusive Qi wireless charging pad looks good (and kind of like a UFO …) and easily charges all your Qi-compatible device up to 5W. Its LED indicator lights up when you're charging. And it costs just $30.

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