Sci-tech

Intel opens up and raises rewards for bug bounty program

Intel opens up and raises rewards for bug bounty program

As the first concrete sign of that, the company has announced a change to its bug bounty programme - whereby security researchers are offered cash rewards in exchange for finding security flaws in Intel products - which opens it up to the general public for the first time.

"By exploiting cache invalidations, MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime - two variants of Meltdown and Spectre, respectively - can leak victim memory at the same granularity as Meltdown and Spectre while using a Prime+Probe timing side-channel".

The program has been invitation-only since launching in March past year, meaning only a select few have been able to report potential vulnerabilities. An attack through these vulnerabilities could cause victims to lose personal data.

It's no secret that the whole Spectre and Meltdown situation has been a bit of a nightmare for Intel.

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The most important update is that the company's bug bounty program is no longer invite-only, and all security researchers worldwide can participate.

Intel has also recently made a "security-first pledge", which includes releasing fixes for older chips and developing new hardware architectures that prioritize security.

Intel said "coordinated disclosure is widely regarded as the best way to responsibly protect customers from security exploits" as it minimises the risk of vulnerability information becoming publicly known before mitigations are available.

"Through its new bug bounty program, Intel is trying to wash away the image of a disastrous patching process", Catalin Cimpanu wrote at Bleeping Computer. This program will pay out up to $250,000 for vulnerabilities found and reported per program rules. Under the program, payments of up to $30,000 were available to researchers who find critical hardware vulnerabilities - a noble enough idea, but the program itself was limited in scope because it was strictly invitation-only. In addition to the mentioned changes, Intel is also raising bounties across the board with awards of up to $100,000 for other areas.


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