If the hacker can crack Microsoft’s custom Linux operating system, Microsoft will offer hackers a reward of up to $100,000. The software giant last year built a compact, customized version of Linux for its Azure Sphere operating system, which is designed to run on dedicated chips for the Internet of Things (IoT) platform. The operating system is specifically built for the platform, and basic services and applications operate in isolation in sandboxes to ensure security.
Microsoft now wants hackers to test the security of the Azure Sphere operating system, and if the Pluton security subsystem or Secure World sandbox is compromised, it will pay a reward of up to $100,000. The bug reward program is part of a three-month research challenge that will run from June 1 stymied to August 31. During the program, Microsoft will offer a reward of up to $100,000 for specific scenarios in the Azure Sphere Security Research Challenge.
The challenge focuses on the Azure Sphere operating system itself, rather than the underlying cloud portion already eligible for the Azure Bounty Program Award. Microsoft has hired a team of security researchers to try to crack the security problems of its Linux operating system. Physical attacks are out of range, but researchers can apply to be part of the challenge.
Azure Sphere was announced at last year’s Build Developer Conference, and it’s relatively new. Companies like Starbucks are launching Azure Sphere to keep their store equipment safe, feeding users data points such as the type of coffee bean, coffee temperature and water quality of each cup of Coffee.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sees IoT devices as a key area for the company, describing its cloud business earlier this year as Microsoft’s largest hardware business. Analysts predict that billions of IoT devices will be in use in the next decade. Azure Sphere is a key part of helping secure and manage these devices, and part of Microsoft’s push to win a world beyond Windows that is increasingly turning to cloud computing.