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Alumnus DeMott Takes Third Place in Microsoft Security Contest

Jared DeMottJared DeMott, a security researcher and Ferris State University alumnus, won $10,000 for his third-place finish in Microsoft’s BlueHat Prize competition for development of security protection against hackers.

“It went great,” DeMott said of the BlackHat USA conference last week in Las Vegas, where contest winners were announced. “I had hoped for first, but I am still very proud of this great accomplishment and broad recognition.”

Microsoft designed the inaugural contest to get security researchers to mitigate entire classes of vulnerabilities. The three finalists focused on ways to block return-oriented programming (ROP), an advanced technique attackers used to defeat operating-system (OS) defenses.

In addition to the $10,000 cash prize, DeMott, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Systems from Ferris in 2000, also won an MSDN Universal subscription valued at $10,000 for his entry, “/ROP” a compiler and Windows OS defense to help guard against ROP.

Vasilis Pappas, a Ph.D. student at Columbia University in New York City, won first place and $200,000 for his submission “kBouncer,” a fully transparent ROP mitigation technique. Ivan Fratric, a researcher at the University of Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia, won the second-place prize of $50,000 for his idea, “ROPGuard,” a system that can detect and prevent forms of ROP attacks at runtime.

DeMott is a principal security researcher for Harris Corp., a Florida-based international communications and information technology company that serves government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. He works from his Rockford home.

DeMott, who grew up in Reed City, is well-known for teaching a course titled “Application Security: For Hackers and Developers” at security conferences and directly to companies such as Boeing and Qualcomm. He will teach it in September at GrrCON in Grand Rapids.