Microsoft opens up bug bounty programme for online services

Microsoft sign outside glass building

Microsoft is to offer rewards to anyone who discovers bugs within many of its online services.

Dubbed the 'Microsoft Online Services Bug Bounty Program', the company kicked off the scheme earlier this week, saying anyone submitting a bug is eligible for a minimum payment of $500 (340).

According to the post on Technet, bugs can include any vulnerabilities discovered in its Office, Outlook 365 and Office 365 for business email services applications, Sharepoint, Lync, Yammer and other services that belong to Microsoft.

Bounties will be paid out to anyone discovering cross site scripting (XSS), cross site request forgery (CSRF), unauthorised cross-tenant data tampering or access (for multi-tenant services), insecure direct object references, injection and authentication flaws, server-side code execution, privilege escalation and significant security misconfiguration vulnerabilities.

A number of vulnerabilities have, however, been blacklisted including bugs that only affect unsupported browsers and plugins and those that would not necessarily pose a risk to people using its services in a regular way. Microsoft will also not pay out if a Denial of Service (DoS) attack is discovered.

Microsoft encourages those who wish to mine for bugs to set up test accounts for security testing rather than use live ones.

Depending on the severity of the bug, Microsoft will vary its payments, but the company says the minimum paid out will be $500 (340). However, the "detail, quality, and complexity of the vulnerability" will also be considered in determining the level of payment.

Some of the biggest tech companies around the world already offer rewards to researchers or regular users who uncover bugs or vulnerabilities. Twitter recently announced it would pay around $140 (85) for every security flaw its users find, while Yahoo came under fire for offering just $12.50 (7.65) in its scheme.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.