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[ISN] Prize for zero-day Windows flaws set at $20,000


By Jeremy Kirk
IDG News Service

A security research company is offering $20,000 for information on 
undisclosed security flaws in Microsoft's Windows OS.

Digital Armaments, which doesn't list a phone number or a headquarters 
address on its Web site, is offering the money as part of the "Hacker's 
Challenge" through midnight EST, Feb. 29. The company is also soliciting 
for flaws in what they term "Windows Diffuse Applications."

Submitters need to illustrate a working exploit and document it, 
according to the company's Web site, which is filled with misspelled 

There's nothing illegal about paying security researchers for flaws, but 
it does tend to annoy software companies whose products are affected.

Wabisabilabi, based in Switzerland, took the idea of compensating 
researchers a step further last year by opening a site for them to sell 
vulnerabilities in auctions. In response to criticism, company officials 
countered that researchers could sell zero-day vulnerabilities on the 
black market.

Microsoft, whose security vulnerabilities are generally high profile, 
advocates that researchers discretely alert it to software problems so 
users aren't put at risk. Companies generally refuse to pay for software 

Digital Armaments says on its Web site its research team was founded in 
2003, and offices were opened in the U.S. later that year.

In addition to paying money for vulnerabilities, Digital Armaments will 
also apparently pay in stock or credits that can be exchanged for stock 
under its Digital Armaments Contribution Program.

Efforts to reach Digital Armaments on Wednesday morning by e-mail were 

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