Katie Moussouris

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Katie Moussouris
Other names@k8em0
OccupationSecurity researcher, CEO, Entrepreneur
EmployerLuta Security
Known forComputer security

Katie Moussouris is an American computer security researcher who is best known for her ongoing work advocating responsible security research. She created the bug bounty program at Microsoft.[1] Formerly the Chief Policy Officer at HackerOne, a vulnerability disclosure company based in San Francisco, California,[2] she is the founder and CEO of Luta Security.[3] Moussouris was directly involved in creating the U.S. Department of Defense's first bug bounty program for hackers.[4][5]



Moussouris joined Symantec in October 2004 when they acquired @stake.[6][7] She founded and managed Symantec Vulnerability Research.[8]


In May 2007, Moussouris left Symantec to join Microsoft as a security strategist.[7] She founded the Microsoft Vulnerability Research (MSVR) program, announced at BlackHat 2008.[9] The program has coordinated the response to several significant vulnerabilities, including Dan Kaminsky's DNS flaw,[10] and has also actively looked for bugs in third-party software affecting Microsoft customers (subsequent examples of this include Google's Project Zero).

From September 2010 until May 2014, Moussouris was the Senior Security Strategist Lead at Microsoft, where she ran the Security Community Outreach and Strategy team for Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) team.[11] She instigated the Microsoft BlueHat Prize for Advancement of Exploit Mitigations,[12] which awarded over $260,000 in prizes to researchers at BlackHat USA 2012.[13] The grand prize of $200,000 was at the time the largest cash payout being offered by a software vendor.[14] She also created Microsoft's first bug bounty program,[1] which paid over $253,000 and received 18 vulnerabilities over the course of her tenure.

ISO vulnerability disclosure standard[edit]

Moussouris has helped edit the ISO/IEC 29147 document since around 2008. In April 2016, ISO made the standard freely available at no charge after a request from Moussouris and the CERT Coordination Center's Art Manion.[15]


In May 2014, Moussouris was named the Chief Policy Officer at HackerOne, a vulnerability disclosure company based in San Francisco, California.[2] In this role, Moussouris was responsible for the company's vulnerability disclosure philosophy, and worked to promote and legitimize security research among organizations, legislators and policy makers.

"Hack the ..." series[edit]

While still at Microsoft, Moussouris began discussing a bug bounty program with the federal government; she continued these talks when she moved to HackerOne.[16] In March 2016, Moussouris was directly involved in creating the Department of Defense's "Hack the Pentagon" pilot program, organized and vetted by HackerOne.[17] It was the first bug bounty program in the history of the US federal government.[18] Moussouris followed up the Pentagon program with "Hack the Air Force". HackerOne and Luta Security are partnering to deliver up to 20 bug bounty challenges over three years to the Defense Department.[19]

Luta Security[edit]

In April 2016,[20] Moussouris founded Luta Security, a consultancy to help organizations and governments work collaboratively with hackers through bug bounty programs.

New America[edit]

During 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, Katie Moussouris served as a Cybersecurity Fellow at New America, a U.S. based think tank.[21][22]


In 2014, SC Magazine named Moussouris to its Women in IT Security list.[8] She was also named as one of "10 Women in Information Security That Everyone Should Know,"[23] and the "One To Watch" among the 2011 Women of Influence awards.[24] In 2018 she was featured among "America's Top 50 Women In Tech" by Forbes[25]


Congressional testimony[edit]

In 2018, Moussouris testified in front of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security about security research for defensive purposes.[26]

Publications and articles[edit]

  • "Not All Hackers are Evil". Time. Retrieved April 4, 2016.[27]
  • "Vulnerability Disclosure Deja Vu: Prosecute Crime Not Research". Dark Reading. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  • "Mad World: The Truth About Bug Bounties". Dark Reading. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  • "How I Got Here: Katie Moussouris". Threat Post. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  • "Hackers Can Be Helpers". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2017.[28]
  • "Administration should continue to seek changes to international cyber export controls". The Hill. Retrieved June 18, 2017.[29]
  • "The Time Has Come to Hack the Planet". Threatpost. Retrieved September 24, 2017.[30]

Microsoft lawsuit[edit]

In September 2015, Moussouris filed a discrimination class-action lawsuit against Microsoft in federal court in Seattle. She alleged that Microsoft hiring practices upheld a practice of sex discrimination against women in technical and engineering roles with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment.[31][32]


  1. ^ a b "Ex-Microsoft Bug Bounty dev forced to decrypt laptop for Paris airport official". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  2. ^ a b "HackerOne Secures $9 Million, Appoints Katie Moussouris Chief Policy Officer | SecurityWeek.Com". www.securityweek.com. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  3. ^ "Luta Security". Luta Security, Inc. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  4. ^ "Pentagon Launches the Feds' First 'Bug Bounty' for Hackers". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  5. ^ "Hack The Pentagon: DoD Launches First-Ever Federal Bug Bounty Program". Dark Reading. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  6. ^ Rashid, Fahmida. "Sisters in Security: Katie Moussouris' Leaps of Faith". PCMagazine. PCMagazine. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  7. ^ a b Naraine, Ryan. "Symantec vulnerability research founder joins Microsoft". Zero Day. ZDNet. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b "2014 Women in IT Security: Katie Moussouris". SC Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  9. ^ Kaplan, Dan. "BLACK HAT: Microsoft to work with third parties over vulns". SC Media US. Haymarket Media, Inc. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  10. ^ Lemos, Robert. "Alliance forms to fix DNS poisoning flaw". SecurityFocus. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  11. ^ Leggio, Jennifer. "100 Brains: Microsoft's Katie Moussouris makes security accessible | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  12. ^ DuPaul, Neil. "Microsoft BlueHat - 5 Questions with Katie Moussouris". Veracode. Veracode. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  13. ^ Smith (pseudonym), Ms. "Microsoft BlueHat Prize Winners". CSO Online. IDG Communications, Inc. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  14. ^ Kamath, Maya. "Here is list of world's biggest 'Bug Bounty' payouts by tech companies". TechWorm. TechWorm.net. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  15. ^ Saarinen, Juha. "ISO vulnerability disclosure standard now free". iTnews. nextmedia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  16. ^ Zetter, Kim. "Bug Bounty Guru Katie Moussouris Will Help Hackers and Companies Play Nice". WIRED. WIRED. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  17. ^ Shinkman, Paul D. (April 1, 2016). "To Modernize Military, Pentagon Turns to Hackers". US News & World Report. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  18. ^ "'Hack the Pentagon' Pilot Program Opens for Registration". US Department of Defense News. US Department of Defense. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  19. ^ O'Neill, Patrick Howell (2017-04-26). "U.S. launches 'Hack the Air Force' bug bounty program - Cyberscoop". Cyberscoop. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  20. ^ Brook, Chris (April 14, 2016). "Katie Moussouris On Hack The Pentagon,Embracing Hackers". Threat Post. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  21. ^ "The 2016-2017 Cybersecurity Fellows". New America 2016-2017 Cybersecurity Fellows. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  22. ^ "The 2015-2016 Cybersecurity Fellows". 2015-2016 Cybersecurity Fellows.
  23. ^ "Mischel Kwon". www.eweek.com. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  24. ^ Editor, Joan Goodchild and Senior. "2011 Women of Influence award winners named". CSO Online. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  25. ^ "Katie Moussouris". Forbes.
  27. ^ Moussouris, Katie. "Not All Hackers Are Evil". Time.com. Time Magazine. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  28. ^ Moussouris, Katie. "Hackers Can Be Helpers". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  29. ^ Moussouris, Katie. "Administration should continue to seek changes to international cyber export controls". thehill.com. The Hill. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  30. ^ Moussouris, Katie. "The Time Has Come to Hack the Planet". Threatpost. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  31. ^ Jane Mundy (September 21, 2015). "Microsoft Accused of Discrimination against Women". Lawyersandsettlements.com. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
  32. ^ "Microsoft Sued in Class Action Alleging Sex Discrimination". Reuters.com. September 16, 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-11.

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