Facebook announced on Monday that it’s prepared to award $100,000 grants for research proposals focusing on improving online security, privacy and safety.
The new project, called “Secure the Internet Grants,” is part of the initiative announced last summer by Facebook CSO Alex Stamos. Stamos revealed at the Black Hat conference that the social media giant had prepared $1 million in funding to encourage original defensive research.
For Secure the Internet Grants, university researchers and faculty, NGOs, and non-profit organizations have been invited to submit proposals for innovative and practical technology. A wide range of topics are accepted, including anti-phishing, user safety, post-password authentication, abuse detection and reporting, privacy-preserving technologies, and user security in emerging markets.
Applicants are required to submit a 2-page proposal detailing their ideas and how the grant funding will be used to put them into practice. Facebook is prepared to award up to $100,000 per proposal, depending on the specific requirements.
The deadline for submitting proposals is March 30. Selected award recipients will be notified in May and winners will be announced at Black Hat USA 2018.
“Good defense comes from understanding offense,” Stamos said last year at Black Hat. “The research presented at Black Hat and elsewhere is critical in understanding the kinds of flaws we face now and in the future, and it helps us build a base of knowledge that can be used to design more trustworthy systems. That being said, the balance of incentives is a bit off, and we need to figure out ways to encourage and celebrate risk-taking defensive research alongside spectacular vulnerability demonstrations.”
Facebook has made significant investments in securing its own platform and the Internet in general.
Last year, Facebook awarded $100,000 to a team of researchers as part of the 2017 Internet Defense Prize for designing a novel technique of detecting spear-phishing attacks in enterprise environments.
As for its own platform, the social media company paid out nearly $900,000 last year for vulnerabilities reported by external researchers, bringing the total paid since the launch of its bug bounty program in 2011 to more than $6.3 million.
Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently stated that protecting the community is more important than maximizing profits.
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