Microsofts bug bounty program [1] [3] [4] [6] [7] [8], which has been running for 10 years [7], has paid out over $60 million in rewards to researchers who have found security flaws in its software [7]. This program initially focused on vulnerabilities in Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11 [7], but has now expanded to include other products in the Defender security brand [7].


The new Defender Bounty program offers financial rewards of up to $20,000 for ethical hackers who identify critical vulnerabilities in the antivirus software. It specifically targets Microsoft Defender for Endpoint APIs, with plans to eventually encompass other products in the Defender brand. The program covers various types of vulnerabilities [5], including XSS [4] [5], CSRF [5], SSRF [5], and injection vulnerabilities [1] [3] [5] [8]. Rewards ranging from $500 to $20,000 are offered for vulnerabilities of Critical or Important severity [5], with higher awards possible based on the severity and impact of the vulnerability [5].

Microsoft already has almost two dozen bug bounty programs in place for various offerings [7], and in the past five years [4] [7], the company has paid $58.9 million to researchers worldwide [7]. The largest reward to date has been $200,000 [7]. Additionally, Microsoft has launched a bug bounty program for its AI-powered Bing family [7], offering rewards between $2,000 and $15,000 [3] [7]. Since its launch in 2013 [4], this program has awarded researchers a total of $63 million. Only important and critical bugs are eligible for financial rewards [4], and the value of the reward will also consider the quality of the bug report.

To evaluate submissions more quickly [2], Microsoft asks researchers to include clear and concise steps to reproduce the vulnerability [2]. The programs scope is restricted to technical flaws in designated Microsoft Online Services [2].


The bug bounty program has significantly contributed to improving the security of Microsofts software by addressing potential security issues before they can be exploited. It has provided researchers with substantial financial rewards and has incentivized them to actively search for vulnerabilities. With the expansion of the program to include other products in the Defender brand, Microsoft is further strengthening its commitment to ensuring the security of its software. By offering higher rewards for critical vulnerabilities, Microsoft encourages researchers to focus on identifying and reporting the most severe security flaws. This ongoing bug bounty program demonstrates Microsofts dedication to maintaining the trust and safety of its customers.