Facebook calls for cybersecurity research proposals as part of new grant program

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Facebook plans to accept research proposals for security projects from the public in the coming months, looking for improvements that focus on abuse detection, anti-phishing, password authentication and user safety.

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, announced Monday the company will be accepting submissions through a new granted-based initiative titled “Secure the Internet Grants.”

The social media giant told CyberScoop that they do not have “a set number of recipients” in mind for the program. A spokesperson further clarified that, when going through the decision making process, they will be “focused on the practical impact it could have on end users.”

The company will hand out up to $100,000 per accepted proposal for future development. Awarded recipients will be offered these grant awards during a planned presentation at Black Hat USA 2018 in Las Vegas.

Phishing scams on Facebook have earned headlines in past years.  In 2016, thousands of users were similarly tricked by a then-popular scheme that involved fake accounts spreading malicious content.

The new research-centric competition is open to university researchers and faculty, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations. The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2018.

This is not the first time Facebook has launched a grant-based research program. In 2012, the company offered $200,000 as part of its “Digital Citizenship Research Grants” effort. During that process, Facebook looked at nearly 100 applications.

The tech giant also sponsors a fellowship program for doctorate students, which grants $37,000 to the recipient in addition to money for conferences and a paid internship opportunity at Facebook.

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Alex Stamos, Black Hat, Facebook, grants