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Microsoft Offers Up to $300,000 in New Azure Security Lab

Microsoft makes changes to Azure bug bounty program

Microsoft announced this week at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas that the top reward for vulnerabilities discovered in its Azure cloud services has been doubled, and a new security testing environment gives researchers the chance to conduct more aggressive tests and earn significant rewards.

Microsoft told white hat hackers that they can now earn between $500 and $40,000 for Azure vulnerabilities.

The company also announced the launch of the Azure Security Lab, a dedicated testing environment set up to allow researchers to “come and do their worst to emulate criminal hackers.”

Bug bounty programs typically prohibit participants from exploiting the vulnerabilities they find — the full extent of the impact is assessed by the vendor as the tests conducted by researchers could result in serious damage.

In the case of the Azure Security Lab, the environment is powered by a set of dedicated cloud hosts isolated from the ones used by customers. This allows hackers to actually exploit the vulnerabilities they find.

The Azure Security Lab also includes scenario-based challenges that give participants the chance to earn $300,000.

A vulnerability that allows a guest-to-host or guest-to-guest escape can be worth up to $300,000, and so is a privilege escalation flaw that allows an attacker to obtain admin access to a Secure Lab subscription. A denial-of-service (DoS) on the Azure host can be worth up to $50,000.

Microsoft says a “select group of talented individuals” will be given access to the new testing environment. Interested researchers can make a request to join the Azure Security Lab using a dedicated form.

Microsoft has also announced that it has formalized its Safe Harbor principles, which assure researchers that they will not face any legal consequences if they responsibly disclose vulnerabilities.

The tech giant says it has paid out $4.4 million in bug bounties over the past 12 months.

Related: Google Paid Out $3.4 Million for Vulnerabilities Reported in 2018

Related: Microsoft Launches Bug Bounty Program for Dynamics 365

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.