6 Top Bug Bounty Platforms for Ethical Hackers to Get More Skills Right Now!
Why a real Ethical Hacker needs a Bug Bounty?
A bug bounty, also known as bug security bounty or bug bounty program for ethical hachers, refers to a crowdsourcing initiative in which ethical hackers discover and report software bugs and then get rewarded by that vulnerability rewards program (VRP).
Indeed, it is a deal that many organizations, websites, and software developers offer to resolve bugs before getting them to the general public. Undoubtedly, many organizations have started implementing bug security bounty programs, such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and even the US Department of Defense.
Benefits for Ethical Hackers
A bug security bounty program benefits both ethical hackers, otherwise called white-hat hackers, and the organization that runs the program. Let’s first see the benefits for ethical hackers:
- In a bug security bounty program, experienced and diverse ethical hackers proactively work for organizations to identify risks, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities for remediation.
- Ethical hackers enjoy financial incentives when they report the vulnerability to developers.
- Sometimes, hackers from around the globe get hired by various organizations for tracking bugs and reporting vulnerabilities, earning full-time incomes.
- Hackers don’t use any standard checklist, but they have to research the latest and unpredictable hacks used by cybercriminals, helping them become more and more creative.
Benefits for the Organization
Now, here we discuss the benefits for the organization operating the bug security bounty program:
Improved Vulnerability Detection
The essential benefit of a bug security bounty program is that the organization recognizes and fixes various vulnerabilities within its applications. With a bug security bounty program, an organization has a higher likelihood of identifying weaknesses before being exploited in attacks, securing the organization’s reputation, along decreasing the probability of high-value hacks.
Realistic Threat Simulation
An organization pays bug trackers to act precisely as a cyber-threat actor with a bug security bounty program. Essentially, they have similar information about the organization and access to its systems. It implies that the vulnerability assessments conducted by bug security bounty trackers will probably be more practical and realistic than a more organized engagement.
More Prominent Access to Talent
Bug security bounty programs also offer organizations access to talent that may be challenging to attract and retain in-house. With a bug security bounty program, an organization can go through vulnerability testing by more bug trackers with a more prominent scope of talents and abilities than would be accessible with a traditional pen-test or vulnerability scan.
Without question, paying a bounty to discover a vulnerability is a lot less expensive than remediating a security incident triggered by the same exposure. Even though bounty values may vary, surprisingly, the most costly bounties are pretty cheaper than a data breach. Another cost-saving factor is that an organization only needs to pay bug bounty trackers if they discover something. Also, it remains less expensive than paying for a similar level of cybersecurity testing in-house or through contractors, who are paid by the hour whether or not they discover anything.
Bug Security Bounty Programs from Big Players
Well, let’s conclude our discussion by enlisting the top 10 bug security bounty programs, along with their minimum and maximum payouts, which depend on the bug criticality:
- Intel (minimum payout: $500, maximum payout: $30,000)
- Yahoo (minimum payout: No Set Limit, maximum payout: $15,000)
- Snapchat (minimum payout: $2,000, maximum payout: $15,000)
- Cisco (minimum payout: $100, maximum payout: $2,500)
- Dropbox (minimum payout: $12,167, maximum payout: $32,768)
- Apple (minimum payout: $No Set Limit, maximum payout: $200,000)
- Facebook (minimum payout: $500, maximum payout: No Set Limit)
- Google (minimum payout: $300, maximum payout: $31,337)
- Quora (minimum payout: $100, maximum payout: $7,000)
- Mozilla (minimum payout: $500, maximum payout: $5,000)
Bug Bounty Platforms
What Is the Purpose of the Bug Bounty Hunting Platforms?
Bug bounty platform is a place where various bug bounty programs are listed. The platform usually acts as bridge that brings companies that wants their systems to be tested, with ethical hackers, that wants to test the systems for a reward or recognition.
In a way, bug bounty platform is a man-in-the-middle.
Think of a bug bounty platform as a notice-board. Various companies had declared about their bug bounty programs and everyone could come and see what are those companies. Each of the postings has rules of engagement, targets in scope, and minimal and maximum payouts for the bounties.
Everyone can see this information (if the bug bounty program is public), and participate. Some of the benefits of such platforms is that you can use them to report vulnerabilities. After submitting a report, representative of the company to which you submitted vulnerability, will be able to review it, and accept or reject it.
Benefits of a bug bounty platform for security researchers:
- Listings of various vulnerability disclosure programs (VDP) in one place
- Rankings – you can easily compare how you stand with other platform users
- Reports of publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. This is beneficial to understand how report of specific vulnerability should look like, and to learn in general.
- Legal protection – you can participate in the programs legally without worrying about the consequences for doing the right thing.
Best Bug Bounty Platforms
The main criteria that determine the worth of the bug bounty hunting platform are the number of organizations on the platform and the number of participating users. The more different companies trust the platform to implement their bug bounty program, the easier it is for the bug bounty hunter to choose what they want to work on. And the large number of registered people shows that the platform is popular among searchers and is reliable. Choosing the platform might be difficult at first. If you are a beginner, just get started on one, try the other ones, and decide which one you like the most. Another important thing to understand about the bug bounty platforms, is that there are private and public programs. In order to be invited to the private programs you will have to earn your name. But more on this later. These are the best bug bounty platforms.
HackerOne is probably the most popular bug bounty platform. Founded in 2012, and based in San Francisco, California, HackerOne received funding in Series A, B, C, D, and E rounds. In the last funding round, Series E, HackerOne raised 49 000 000 USD. Being one of the pioneers of bug bounty platforms, HackerOne is one of the biggest names in the industry.
Some facts about the HackerOne:
• Over 1 million security researchers on the platform
• More than 294 000 vulnerabilities resolved through the system
• 1 000 companies are working with the HackerOne (although not all of them have vulnerability disclosure programs on the platform)
• Over 100 000 000 $ in paid bounties (as of May 2020)
• Has many public reports that is a great source of learning
Although recently HackerOne grabbed media attention because of the insider employe that was selling submitted bug reports, scandal, this is one of the most reliable and reputable bug bounty hunting platforms.
Bugcrowd is another bug bounty platform that is a huge name in the bug bounty industry. Founded in 2011, it is one of the first, and one of the largest platforms. Company was founded in Sydney, Australia, but right now they have different offices across the world with the HQ in San Francisco.
Various companies trusts Bugcrowd for hosting theirs vulnerability disclosure programs, and Bugcrowd also offers penetration testing services, and attack surface management.
Currently Bugcrowd has over 1400 bug bounty programs.
YesWeHack is another bug bounty platform founded in Europe – it is headquartered in Paris, France. The company has offices in France, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany.
Platform has 30+ different bug bounty programs.
While this is not the biggest platform out here, the company is gaining traction. In 2019 YesWeHack raised 4 million euros in Series A funding round. And in the 2021, platform had raised 16 million euros in Series B funding round.
Synack is a bug bounty platform you won’t get that easily on. Created in 2013 by former NSA agents Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, Synack provides various cybersecurity services for the biggest companies. Synack also has private bug bounty programs for the security researchers, however in order to participate in them, you must prove yourself and apply for the seat in Synack Red Team.
One of the biggest advantages of the Synack, is that you can additionally get paid for other things than found bugs. Checklist work is also rewarded. As the Synack takes care of the triage process, and pays the bounties themselves to the security researchers, the process is stable and consistent.
While you won’t become rich by participating in the Openbugbounty bug bounties, you have the chance to make internet a little bit safer place. Openbugbounty is a community-driven platform that connects security researchers that found the vulnerability in any website, with the website owners.
By the help of platform, over 1 259 000 disclosures were submitted, and over 905 000 of vulnerabilities were fixed.
Almost 1 600 bug bounty programs are on the platform, and over 3 165 websites can be tested. To the date, the platform attracted over 28 000 security researchers.