Microsoft is turning to the public for new ideas regarding defensive approaches to computer security risks. The inaugural Microsoft BlueHat Prize contest will award $250,000 in cash prizes for the best submitted solutions.

The contest was announced at the annual Black Hat USA security conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Security experts from across the globe converge in Sin City for the four day event, the largest conference of its kind. It's here that experts in the field discuss and share information on the latest security vulnerabilities.

Senior security strategist lead for the Microsoft Security Response Center Katie Moussouris stated that Microsoft is looking for new ways to encourage development of promising security solutions.

"Microsoft wants to encourage more security experts to think about ways to reduce threats to computing devices," Moussouris said. "We're looking to collaborate with others to build solutions to tough industry problems. We believe the BlueHat Prize will encourage the world's most talented researchers and academics to tackle key security challenges and offer them a chance to impact the world."

According to the official contest rules and regulations, Microsoft is looking for a runtime mitigation technology solution that is capable of preventing the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities. The company is hoping that a hefty cash prize will motivate contestants and make the effort worthwhile for the winners.

The winner of the contest will receive $200,000 while second place nets $50,000. A third place finisher will receive a MSDN Universal subscription valued at $10,000.

Entries will be judged based on the following model: 30 percent for practicality and functionality, 30 percent for robustness and the remaining 40 percent is based on impact.

The contest runs until April 1, 2012 and the winners will be announced at next year's Black Hat USA conference. All entries should be submitted to