By Alex Stamos, Facebook Chief Security Officer
Yesterday evening, we awarded more than $800,000 to the winners of our Secure the Internet grants. These grants, which were distributed on the sidelines of the Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas, are part of a $1-million commitment we made last year to support original, defense-focused research on emerging security and privacy topics.
We are planning to award another $200,000 to researchers through the Internet Defense Prize at the USENIX Security Symposium on August 16.
Facebook invests in research as part of our overall efforts to make the internet and people on Facebook more secure. These programs encourage innovative security and privacy experimentation and analysis from universities, nonprofits, and others that can be applied in practice. The focus areas of our award winners include the following topics:
- Cryptography and encrypted messages
- Analysis of malicious activity, including hijacked Facebook accounts
- Online & offline safety
- Post-password authentication, such as behavioral biometrics
- Privacy for emerging markets
- Perceptual hash algorithms
The committee of Facebook security engineers that reviewed the submissions found that each winner took a new and creative approach to the security, privacy and safety issues that many people regularly see online. For example, one winner proposed enhancing safety during internet disruptions during times of war, while another aimed to advance digital privacy and security in countries where large numbers of people are encountering the internet for the first time.
There were 10 grant winners in total, each earning between $60,000 and $100,000. Their institutions included: Clarkson University; Cornell University and Cornell Tech; Galois Inc.; Northeastern University; Princeton University; Social Media Exchange Association; The City College of New York; University of California, San Diego; and University College London.
For more information about the Secure the Internet grants and our winners, please visit our Research Blog.