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techkenyot.com February 20, 2019


Intel offers bounties for Meltdown, Spectre bug hunters

15 February 2018, 06:28 | Casey Mitchell

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As you may know, the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities hit all chip makers pretty bad, and the timing was apparently appropriate for Intel to open up its bug bounty program.

Those rewards, too, have been boosted: Bounties have been increased to a peak of $100,000 for many security issues, while a new initiative created to root out side-channel vulnerabilities similar to Spectre and Meltdown, running through to the end of the year, is eligible for a top payout of $250,000.

Intel announced today an expansion of its Bug Bounty program it launched past year, hoping to encourage security researchers around the world to find vulnerabilities in its products.

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Spectre and Meltdown are chip vulnerabilities spotted in early January, and which were uncovered to be affecting virtually every computing machine in existence today. The updates also includes major fixes for the recent Meltdown and Spectre issues with one of the OEMs Intel having already acknowledged the Spectre issues for its Skylake processors. What that really means is that Intel must know about the flaw and be given time to address the flaw before any public disclosure of a vulnerability is made.

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.

Intel said it will continue to make updates to the Bug Bounty programme in the future, as needed, to make it as effective as possible. The more inclusive a program, the easier it will be for white hat hackers to participate and find vulnerabilities.

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"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.

The program also features permanent bug bounties of up to US$10,000, US$30,000 and US$100,000 for critical flaws found in Intel software, firmware and hardware respectively.

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