As part of its commitment to support original and “defence-focused research” on security and privacy, Facebook last week awarded more than $800,000 to the winners of its Secure the Internet grants.
Facebook’s Secure the Internet grants are part of a $1 million commitment to invest in research that makes the internet and people on Facebook more secure. The awards distributed last week, on the sidelines of the Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas, were only a part of this commitment as Facebook says it also plans to “award a further $200,000 to researchers through the Internet Defense Prize at the USENIX Security Symposium on August 15.”
The focus of the Secure the Internet Grants winners included topics like cryptography and encrypted messages, the analysis of malicious activity (including hijacked Facebook accounts), online & offline safety, post-password authentication (such as behavioural biometrics), privacy for emerging markets, and perceptual hash algorithms.
In a blog post announcing the awards, Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said that
“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.”
One winner, for example, “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”, he explained.
The $800,000 prize was split between 10 grant winners who each earned between $60,000 and $100,000. They represented a range of institutions such as 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.