Microsoft has announced the BlueHat Prize at a Las Vegas security convention, which rewards research that provides solutions for protection against entire types of cyber attacks.
Microsoft Replaces Bounties With The BlueHat Prize
Aimed at bringing down entire types of cyber attacks, the BlueHat prizes will be awarded to researchers who find out ways to defend against different types of cyber attacks. This replaces the Bounties that were placed on the finding the foiling of single computer bugs that posed as security threats.
This comes in the wake of a worldwide security breach that was part of a 5-year long strategically planned attack to steal cyber secrets from places as wide and diverse as the United Nations, the International Olympics Committee, Defense Contractors for both the UK and US and also Association of South-East Asian Nations along with governments of India, South Korea, Taiwan, US, Canada and Vietnam.
The prizes were announced just in time for the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences to start, where international security experts will present and discuss the latest in cyber security, attacks and their solutions.
All Fingers Point To A Single State Running The Whole Operation
Security company McAfee said that attack was orchestrated by a single state entity and all attacks were traced back to the same server. They said that malicious software used in these attacks had penetrated some of the networks (including those of the UN secretariat at Geneva) for over two years.
The company of course would not name a specific country but individual experts who do not need to be so diplomatic directly named China as the perpetrator. In fact, the attack on the International Olympics Committee right before the Beijing Olympics only solidifies everyone’s suspicions.
The disturbing part is that with the scope of the information stolen being so vast, no one is certain of what the information will be used for. From information sensitive to international diplomatic relationships to state specific military and defense secrets and international sporting organization information — the diversity is perhaps only seconded by the “audacity of the perpetrators” (Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice-president of threat research).