Security Experts:

Microsoft Paid Out $13.6 Million in Bug Bounties in Past Year

Microsoft this week revealed that it paid out more than $13.6 million in bug bounties between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

As part of the company’s 17 bug bounty and grant programs, participating security researchers can earn awards as high as $250,000 -- the highest rewards are for critical vulnerabilities in Hyper-V.

More than 340 security researchers across 58 countries received payouts as part of Microsoft’s bug bounty programs over the past year, with the largest single amount awarded by the company being $200,000, for a Hyper-V vulnerability.

According to Microsoft, it rewarded over 1,200 eligible vulnerability reports, for an average payout of more than $10,000.

“We’re constantly evaluating the threat landscape to evolve our programs and listening to feedback from researchers to help make it easier to share their research. This year, we introduced new challenges and scenarios to award research focused on the highest impact to customer security,” the company says.

Over the past 12 months, in addition to updating the Windows Insider Preview and Researcher Recognition programs, Microsoft also introduced two new programs, namely the Microsoft Applications Bounty Program (Teams Desktop) in March 2021, and the SIKE Cryptographic Challenge in June 2021.

The amount Microsoft paid out in bounty rewards over the past year is nearly identical to the $13.7 million the company paid between July 2019 and June 2020, when it launched six new bug bounty programs.

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