Microsoft Luring White Hat Hackers Into Its Cloud Platform Azure

Posted: Jun 7 2019, 7:35pm CDT | by , Updated: Jun 8 2019, 1:34am CDT , in Technology News


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Microsoft luring ‘white hat’ hackers into its cloud platform Azure
Photo credit: Microsoft

The tech giant is offering a bounty reward for bug finders.

Microsoft Corp. is not planning to take legal action against hackers who try to infiltrate its flagship cloud computing platform Azure, but is instead encouraging security researchers, or the so-called white hat hackers, to try to hack Azure more often.

Kymberlee Price, who is responsible for community programs in Microsoft’s Security Response Center, said many white hat hackers are already doing this to Microsoft’s other products like Windows, Office and browsers, but there are not many who are working on Azure, Bloomberg News reports.

As opposed to black hat hackers who are behind malware, or malicious software, white hat hackers employ their knowledge of computer software and hardware in penetration testing to ensure the security of a company’s information systems. These ethical hackers often seek the permission of a website owner before they gain access to the site.

For Microsoft’s part, Price said the company wants hackers to poke holes into Azure in a bid to detect weaknesses in the platform and eventually work on fixing them, according to Bloomberg.

In a way to lure white hat hackers, Microsoft will reportedly create a game-like reward system, offering bounty payments to bug finders.

The move comes as the tech giant, which was among the pioneers of the first computer systems, aims to bank on its cloud services to boost revenue. In 2018, Microsoft’s revenue from its intelligent cloud segment rose 18% year over year to $4.8 billion as server products and cloud services revenue jumped 21% year over year to $4.5 billion. Revenue in Azure also surged 91% in 2018.

To support its cloud protection efforts, Microsoft is considering the creation of a Safe Harbor statement, allowing researchers legal clearance to report a vulnerability. “We’ve always done that but we’ve never formally articulated it,” Price reportedly said.

Meanwhile, Azure’s Chief Technology Officer Mark Russinovich reportedly said at Microsoft’s academic conference that there are still hackers who aim for networks that are located at a company’s own offices more often than targeting the cloud. However, he said that is changing. “The level of sophistication of the attackers and the interest in [attacking] the cloud just continues to grow as the cloud continues to grow,” Russinovich said.

Bloomberg also quoted Steve Dispensa, general manager of cloud and AI security at Microsoft, who said the company wants to share security data publicly in order to fend off attackers.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/81" rel="author">Mandy Jean</a>
Mandy covers the latest news in Tech and Business.




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