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Facebook awards $50,000 Internet Defense Prize for security research

Facebook has awarded $50,000 (£30,000) to a pair of German researchers, who have developed a new approach to detecting vulnerabilities in online applications.

The Internet Defense Prize was presented to Johannes Dahse and Thorsten Holz from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany on Wednesday, for their paper on flaws exploited by hackers.

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The committee awarding the prize stated that there was a "clear path" to use the money as a way of incorporating the research into real world technology.

In a blog post, Facebook's security engineering manager, John Flynn, said, ""We decided to focus on creating greater opportunities and incentives for researchers to produce work that actually protects people."

"Our answer is the Internet Defense Prize, an award to recognize superior quality research that combines a working prototype with significant contributions to the security of the Internet—particularly in the areas of protection and defense," he added.

Flynn was also a part of the award committee, which was announced at the recent USENIX Security Symposium in Southern California.

"USENIX is thrilled to collaborate with Facebook on this significant award, which shines a light on the importance of securing the Internet by identifying critical vulnerabilities and preventing their exploitation," association executive director Casey Henderson announced in a statement.

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With social networks containing a vast amount of sensitive information, users are likely to welcome Facebook's support for new security research.