Always current, crowdsourced intelligence

Security experts can earn cryptocurrency for detecting malware

Paul Makowski

© Shutterstock / Nicescene

PolySwarm aims to incentivize a global community of security experts to disrupt the $8.5 billion cyber threat intelligence industry. In this article, Paul Makowski, CTO and co-founder of Swarm Technologies, explains how this works and how you can earn cryptocurrency for detecting malware.

Today’s antivirus and IT security market is dominated by single-vendor offerings that favor a core set of competencies. They focus on the 80% — detecting the most common malware on Windows endpoints.

At the same time, our collective appetite for computing heterogeneity has accelerated — enterprises and end users work and play on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux and everything in between.

Device & operating system heterogeneity demands a new set of incentives that produce protection solutions capable of keeping pace with our devices and staying ahead of innovative attackers seeking to undermine our defenses.

    Blockchain Whitepaper 2019

    Free: Blockchain Technology Whitepaper 2019

    If building a blockchain from scratch is beyond your current scope, the blockchain technology whitepaper is worth a look. Experts from the field share their know-how, tips and tricks, development advice, and strategy for becoming a blockchain master.


That’s why we’re building PolySwarm, the first decentralized marketplace that incentivizes security experts to build anti-malware engines that compete to protect consumers. Always current, crowdsourced intelligence — without updates.

PolySwarm is powered by experts developing and fine-tuning micro-engines that detect the latest threats better than their competitors’ micro-engines. To encourage security expert onboarding, we recently launched a $300,000 USD PolySwarm Nectar Contest!

How PolySwarm works

Experts that participate in this contest are rewarded in PolySwarm’s token, Nectar (NCT), for identifying and supplying unique malware samples. PolySwarm will incentivize these same experts to detect these unique samples in their micro-engines.

Each user can submit a single file per day. Only the first five files per malware family will be accepted. The amount of Nectar rewarded is tiered in order of submission time within its malware family. Each day a bonus malware family is named on PolySwarm’s Telegram group — submissions to this family double the NCT reward! For full details, see our Contest Rules.

We’ve had many awesome submissions so far — including many submissions to the bonus malware families! We’ve also received a large number of cat pictures. But it’s the Internet and that’s to be expected.

SEE ALSO: What’s coming in 2018: Digital privacy and security predictions

PolySwarm will incentivize a global community of security experts to disrupt the $8.5 billion cyber threat intelligence industry. This contest is the first of many efforts to onboard security experts into the PolySwarm ecosystem.

We have many more contests and development grants planned — we encourage all security experts, end users and enterprise defenders to join our current Contest here, join our Telegram channel here and to stay tuned for more coming soon!


Paul Makowski

Paul Makowski is the CTO, and co-founder of Swarm Technologies.

Paul brings over 10 years of experience in modern software exploitation, program analysis, vulnerability research, reverse engineering, cryptography, and low-level development. At Narf, Paul has reverse engineered, sinkholed and written bespoke malware disinfection tools for Fortune 100 clients, has conducted cutting-edge research on partial homomorphic encryption as it applies to protecting network signatures and programs and has co-designed a confidentiality system for a public / private hybrid blockchain used for identity management.

Prior to joining Narf, Paul led cutting-edge information security research and development efforts, identified exploitable vulnerabilities in defensive tools as a Vulnerability Analyst for CERT/CC, was a web application security engineer for McAfee and won DEF CON’s CTF competition.

Paul holds a BSc in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University and a MSc in Information Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments