Security vulnerabilities are inextricably linked to information systems. Unable to eliminate these vulnerabilities, the security community is left to minimize their impact. Unfortunately, current reward structures may be skewed towards benefiting nefarious usage of vulnerability information rather than responsible disclosure. Recently suggested market-based mechanisms offer some hope by providing incentives to responsible security researchers. However, concerns exist that any benefits gained through increased incentives may be more than lost through information leakage. Using two years of security alert data, we examine the effectiveness of market-based mechanisms. While market-mechanisms do not reduce the likelihood that a vulnerability will be exploited, we find evidence that markets increase the time to vulnerability exploit and decrease the overall volume of alerts.
Ransbotham, Sam; Mitra, Sabyasachi; and Ramsey, Jon, "Are Markets for Vulnerabilities Effective?" (2008). ICIS 2008 Proceedings. 24.