Internet Defense Prize: Seeking Security Ideas with Impact

By Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer

Securing the internet is a challenge that grows more important every day – and it’s something Facebook cares a lot about. We make it a priority to contribute to the technical community in ways that help make the web more secure for everyone.

Reports of security vulnerabilities tend to grab the most attention in the industry, but some of the most promising ideas for a more secure Internet actually come from the academic world and can sometimes get lost in the mix. That’s why we created the Internet Defense Prize, an award to support research that meets two primary criteria: emphasis on protection and defense, and a meaningful contribution to the security of the internet.

Facebook will offer up to $300,000 USD in awards for 2015. We will work with USENIX, a leader in security research, to evaluate submissions and will award prizes to researchers who introduce the best new ideas along with working prototypes that promise real security gains. These funds will allow researchers to continue their work and focus on making their security solutions broadly accessible.

In August, the first Internet Defense Prize was awarded to Johannes Dahse and Thorsten Holz, researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany. Their work used static analysis to detect “second-order vulnerabilities,” in which malicious files are installed on a web server and later used to inflict harm. Dahse and Holz were granted $50,000 USD to further their research and create an applicable solution.

We will begin accepting submissions soon, and winners will be announced at USENIX Security 2015 on August 12-15, in Washington, D.C. More information about the process is available here. We look forward to reviewing submissions and supporting work that will make the whole internet more secure.

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