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Microsoft Launches Project Spartan Bug-Hunting Program

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Rewards of up up to $15,000 are on offer for those who stamp out the most bugs

Microsoft is keen to ensure its new Project Spartan web browser will be as bug free as possible at launch and will pay handsomely for anyone who reports an isssue.

A vulnerability bounty programme for the browser, currently available as part of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, will run until June 22, offering rewards of between $500 and $15,000. Microsoft is also prepared to go above this limit if anything major is found.

spartanGet hunting

The program is open to bug-hunters aged 14 years and older, living in any countries not currently under any US sanctions (ie Iran, Cuba and Syria), with any submissions being sent straight to Microsoft. However, the company will not claim any ownership rights to submissions.

Project Spartan was first announced as part of the Windows 10 reveal back in January, acting as an all-new alternative to Internet Explorer, before being added to the Windows 10 technical preview last month.

Described by Microsoft as ‘a new option for the modern web’, with a focus on security, reliability and speed, as well as continuous updates that allow it to keep up with the latest trends. Project Spartan also features annotation, a ‘distraction free’ reading mode and simplified layout for better web surfing, and integration with Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated personal assistant.

The company does have a history of paying bug-hunters well, with HP reserachers being rewarded with a $125,000 prize for identifying use-after-free (UAF) vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.

The program dates back to June 2013, when Microsoft pledged to award $100,000 for researchers that found new ways to get around its software’s defences and $11,000 (£6,839) for any vulnerabilities found in its Internet Explorer browser. Any team that won its top prize could also propose possible defences, earning another $50,000 (£31,086).

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