Facebook launches contest to boost internet security

(CNN Money) — Facebook is calling on researchers to fight hackers and tighten security on the internet.

On Monday, the social network announced an initiative called “Secure the Internet Grants” to fund projects from researchers at universities and nonprofits to make the internet more secure.

Facebook will give $100,000 to those who come up with the best solutions to combat phishing, detect abuse and improve privacy in emerging markets, among other things.

From now until the end of March, security researchers can submit proposals in the form of a two page paper. The winning submissions will be announced in August.

Last July, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos announced the company would offer up to $1 million to fund defense research, or work to combat behavior that puts users at risk. The new grant program is part of that promise.

“Our goal is to spur development of technology that may be applied in practice, rather than pure research,” Facebook said on itsSecure the Internet Grants” application page.

This marks the latest security investment from Facebook. Last year, the company announced a $500,000 contribution to make elections more secure. Facebook faced backlash for allowing social media propaganda campaigns to spread on its platform ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

With more than two billion users, Facebook’s move to normalize strong security practices could affect a large portion of internet users. The company regularly reminds members about two-factor authentication and ways to review login information to identify malicious activity.

Last year it began testing a way for Facebook to be a backup security key if a user forgets a password to another site.

 

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