From Bounty Leaderboards to Microsoft Security Researcher, Meet Cameron Vincent! | MSRC Blog
- Game you binged: Guitar Hero and Rock Band fanatic.
- Go to snack: Nutri-Grain Bars.
- Favorite Drink: Soda – Coca Cola specifically.
- Favorite Place: Singapore – stayed an extra week after a hacking collaboration and truly fell in love and hopes to get back as soon as possible.
- Favorite Movie/Genre: Parasite – Korean Cinema, had been watching Koren Cinema before it became a thing.
- Influencers: Callum Carney, DoggyG, Nathaniel Wakelam, Nahamsec.
- Shoes Depicted in Image: Of his 50+ sneakers, the Northern Light Foamposites, Satin Banned 1s and the 2017 ComplexCon White Air Forces are among his rare gems within the collection and depicted in the artwork.
From Bounty Leaderboards to Microsoft Security Researcher, Meet Cameron Vincent!
Voyaging a path almost never taken, Cameron Vincent went from hacking Microsoft to soon after joining Microsoft. Just a few years back and prior to taking his talents to Microsoft, Cameron’s reputation as an independent security researcher hit all-time highs as news of his viral hacks and his consistent top rankings on various bug bounty leaderboards spread throughout the industry. Seemingly on top of the world there was still more to Cameron’s story, let’s look back and see how it all unfolded.
Cameron’s passion for technology flourished at a young age throughout the adolescence of online gaming despite treacherously slow dial-up internet. He found solace in gaming and became particularly fascinated with hacking within the gaming realm. Not so innocently hosting various online lobbies and hack-centric communities that allowed him and others to join games with completely unlocked items and maps. His antics eventually caught up with him, resulting in three strikes and a ban through year 9999 on his XBOX Live account. From an early age there was an innocence to his hacking style, often not expecting certain actions would yield such dramatic outcomes.
Regardless of the repercussions, Cameron’s newfound expertise was a result of a relentless pursuit of knowledge, parsing through online forums, videos, books, research papers, and conference talks. His continued education in hacking was entirely self-taught, finding little interest in traditional schooling. These self-taught hacking skills became his primary passion, leading him to officially launch his independent hacking career during what he decided was his last semester of college. He found himself inundated with bug bounty opportunities that he simply couldn’t resist.
Cameron’s dedication soon paid off after reeling in his first major bounty with an XSS vulnerability he discovered in Microsoft’s systems. And as you might have expected, he used his first significant payment to purchase a gaming laptop he’d been eyeing for some time. It was a symbolic moment for him, representing the tangible rewards for his hard work which left him biting at the bit to continue making a name for himself. While he’ll never forget splurging on the laptop, recognition was top priority, aiming to climb the leaderboards and gain acknowledgement rather than focusing on monetary rewards.
Along the way and among the many bug discoveries, Cameron stumbled upon a groundbreaking vulnerability that he described as a “game over” bug and one of the highlights from his time as an independent researcher. The now resolved and documented bug was one that granted him full super admin access to someone else’s G-Suite organization, giving him unrestricted control over the entire system. Despite being approached by journalists and some legendary bugs now under his belt, his appetite for making a name for himself only grew.
Next, setting his sights on Microsoft’s Quarterly Leaderboard which was quickly climbed and there it was, #1 – Cameron Vincent. Now with several under his belt, he shifted his attention to the prestigious Annual Most Valuable Researcher Leaderboard topping out at 2nd Place on the 2021 Most Valuable Security Researcher Leaderboard. To say the least, he caught the attention of Microsoft, and an unexpected twist veered his career path towards a full-time role at the company. It wasn’t until joining Microsoft that Cameron found the spotlight to share his research and expertise. The transition was nothing short of surreal, never anticipating such a turn of events. He went from being an independent bug bounty hunter, keeping his findings to himself, to an integral part of a team, collaborating, working alongside others and even presenting at BlueHat in 2022; a dream scenario and the next step he’d been craving for some time now.
In his current role at Microsoft, Cameron is responsible for fielding and analyzing incoming bug reports from various finders contributing to Microsoft’s Bug Bounty Programs. This experience has been invaluable, as he has learned new techniques and approaches to bug hunting by simply observing how others find vulnerabilities. Beyond that, his primary interests lie in O-Auth implementation and authorization where he has made significant contributions and remains committed to shifting security posture in these areas.
At the behest of fellow researchers Cameron boldly yearns to also contribute to defensive measures. Ultimately hoping to see these vulnerabilities eradicated, completely fixed, out of existence. When looking back, having such an impact is now the ultimate goal. With his passion for hacking, his love for sneakers, and his ongoing quest for knowledge and impact, Cameron Vincent continues to make a name for himself in the field of cybersecurity. Stay up to date with Cameron on Twitter and check out his latest appearance on the BlueHat Podcast.