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Tech Giant Microsoft to Pay Hackers for Bug Bounty Programme

Microsoft recently launched Chromium-based Edge beta for Windows 10, 7, 8/8.1 and macOS

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Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

Microsoft has launched a Bug Bounty Programme for Chromium Edge where the company is inviting cybersecurity experts across the world to identify vulnerabilities in the Chromium Edge browser, with rewards ranging from $1,000 to $30,000.

The company is offering rewards in various tiers. Spoofing and tampering reports would earn anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000. Information disclosure and remote code execution will be awarded between $1,000 and $10,000 and elevation of privilege will rake in between $5,000 to $15,000, Digital Trends reported on Sunday.

As per the report, $30,000 will be given in exchange for finding a combination of an Elevation of Privilege flaw and a Windows Defender Application Guard container escape.

Representational image.

“We are excited to expand our bounty programmes today to include the next version of Microsoft Edge and continue to grow and strengthen our partnership with the security research community.

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“We welcome researchers to seek out and disclose any high-impact vulnerabilities they may find in the next version of Microsoft Edge, based on Chromium, and offer rewards up to the US $30,000 for eligible vulnerabilities in Dev and Beta channels,” Jarek Stanley, senior program manager at Microsoft, said in a post.

Microsoft recently launched Chromium-based Edge beta for Windows 10, 7, 8/8.1 and macOS. (IANS)

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Now Hackers Aim to Hit Cybersecurity Firms

Companies may face a penalty of up to Rs 15 crore or 4 per cent of global turnover for major violations under the proposed Personal Data Protection law, according to official sources

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Data,Privacy
A French soldier watches code lines on his computer during the International Cybersecurity forum in Lille, northern France, Jan. 23, 2018. VOA

The new breed of hackers is flexing their muscles and now, cybersecurity firms which aim to safeguard your data are being hit right in their backyard — signaling a worrisome trend for enterprises and governments as encryption is proving to be fundamentally flawed.

In a bizarre incident late last month, global cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks “admitted” that the personal details of its seven current and former employees had been “inadvertently” published online by a “third-party vendor”.

The personal details of some past and present employees — their names, dates of birth and social security numbers — were exposed online.

Palo Alto Networks, however, did not divulge further details on who the third party vendor was and how the personal details of the employees were leaked.

San Francisco-based HackerOne which itself is a vulnerability coordination and bug bounty platform and boasts of clients like Starbucks, Instagram, Goldman Sachs, Twitter and Zomato, last week paid $20,000 to a community user who exposed a vulnerability in its own bug bounty platform.

The vulnerability was exposed by a user with the handle called “haxta4ok00”.

“I can read all reports @security and more programmes,” posted the hacker on the community page.

US Intelligence, Privacy
A specialist works at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., Sept. 9, 2014. (VOA)

“I did it to show the impact. I didn’t mean any harm by it. I reported it to you at once. I was not sure that after the token substitution I would own all the rights. I apologise if I did anything wrong. But it was just a white hack”.

The big question arises: How safe is our data with the cyber security enterprises that have mushroomed in the recent past.

In a statement shared with IANS, HackerOne said it believes in transparency and the vital role it plays in building trust.

“This was a vulnerability reported through HackerOne’s own bug bounty programme by an active HackerOne hacker community member and was safely resolved. The team followed standard protocol to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the issue and implement immediate and long-term fixes. All customers impacted were notified the same day,” HackerOne noted.

“It may seem counterintuitive to publish when things go wrong, but many companies face similar security challenges, and the value of public disclosure for the public and our community far outweighs the risk,” the company added.

Palo Alto Networks said they took immediate action to remove the data from public access and terminate the vendor relationship.

“We also promptly reported the incident to the appropriate authorities and to the impacted individuals. We take the protection of our employees’ information very seriously and have taken steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” the company said in a statement.

Cyberattacks
An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow, July 29, 2013. VOA

The big question arises: If cybersecurity firms are unable to thwart hacking on their platforms, where would an individual or a firm in India go to secure data?

“Both these incidents show that deliberate actions or even mistakes by companies can cripple huge security systems,” Virag Gupta, a lawyer who is arguing the case in Supreme Court for data localisation in India, told IANS.

The Data Protection Bill, which has been cleared by the Cabinet, envisages “sensitive” personal data to be stored in India, but it can be processed outside the country with the explicit consent of the individual concerned.

“Critical” personal data, which is another classified data, can only be stored and processed in India and will not leave the country. What constitutes “critical’ data” will be defined by the government at the time of framing regulations.

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“The new Data Protection Law in India must ensure an easy and fast redressal system that provides for both punishment and compensation,” said Gupta.

Companies may face a penalty of up to Rs 15 crore or 4 per cent of global turnover for major violations under the proposed Personal Data Protection law, according to official sources. (IANS)