- Have you heard about “Bug Bounty” but don’t know what it is? Well, the concept is simple. It is the financial reward that companies pay ethical hackers or bug bounty hunters for finding out and reporting bugs and security gaps before black hat hackers do. Do you want to know more? Don’t worry! We will cover everything related to Bug Bounty in this blog post.
- If you are someone who would like to know about Bug Bounties in detail, you have landed on the right blog post.
- As mentioned above, in this blog post, we will be covering everything that you should know about Bug Bounty – Meaning of Bug Bounty, Functioning of a Bug Bounty program, Example of Bug Bounty, and Advantages and Disadvantages of Bug Bounty Programs.
All about Bug Bounty GitHub
Meaning of Bug Bounty
- As mentioned above, it is a financial reward that companies pay ethical hackers for finding out bugs and security gaps in an application and reporting the same to its developer. Companies utilize the hacker community through Bug Bounty Programs to strengthen their systems’ security.
- Hackers who search for bugs or Bug Bounty hunters, sometimes, do the same as a full-time job. Since bug bounty hunters possess a wide range of skills and expertise, it is better to hire them than conduct mere tests by much less qualified security professionals.
- Bounty programs are sometimes complementary to penetration testing and allow organizations to put their systems’ security to test throughout the development life cycles of the systems.
Functioning of a Bug Bounty Program
- The first step that needs to be followed by companies in starting a Bug Bounty program is to determine the scope and budget of the Bug Bounty programs. By determining the scope, companies will identify the systems that need to be tested and the process of conducting such tests. Sometimes, companies clearly spell out the domains that are off-limits as far as testing is concerned so that they can carry out the main business operations without any hurdles.
- Here, you may ask, “How are rewards decided on?” Well, let’s start by saying, “that’s a good question.” Now, let’s answer the question. The rewards are decided based on how severe the vulnerabilities are, and more rewards are given as the potential impact of discovering and reporting bugs rises.
- Say suppose, the bug has been found out. What next? Ethical hackers or Bug Bounty Hunters complete filling up a disclosure report wherein they explain what the bug exactly is, how the bug affects the application, and how severe it is. The hackers’ job doesn’t stop here. They explain the steps and details so that developers can validate the same. The hacker doesn’t right away get the financial reward. The bug has to be confirmed by the developers, only then do hackers get their reward.
- Now, what are the developers supposed to do? They work to fix the bugs and retest to ensure bugs are fixed completely.
Examples of Bug Bounty Program
Let’s see a real-life example of Bug Bounty-
- If you have not heard about Shopify yet, let us introduce you to it. It is an e-commerce platform that provides its services to many businesses worldwide. Its global presence makes it important to have a secure business platform. It has hired many ethical hackers to discover and report bugs and vulnerabilities to date and has paid bounties more than $1,580,000. It is believed to offer as much as $30,000 for reporting extremely severe vulnerabilities.
- In 2020, a hacker found out that a bug existed in its systems that enabled unlicensed access to the accounts of merchants. Through the Bug Bounty program, ethical hackers helped pinpoint the vulnerability to the Shopify team who fixed it on time and saved its system.
- A reward of $15,000 was given to @cache-money, the hacker, and a bonus amount of $250 was also given for finding out and disclosing the bug.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bug Bounty Programs
Let’s see the Advantages first:
- Bug Bounties do not create a culture of fear, rather it creates a culture of transparency and responsibility.
- Through a Bug Bounty program, the malicious intent of black hat hackers is crushed to the ground.
- Inquisitive hackers can discover vulnerabilities in a legal way through a Bug Bounty Program.
If there’s a positive side, there has to be a negative side. Let’s see what the negative side of Bug Bounty Programs looks like –
- Over-reliance on Bug Bounty programs can be detrimental to the success of businesses.
- Proof of vulnerabilities is sometimes shared without the companies’ assent.
- Poorly written legal rules can lead to the occasional diversion of hackers from the legal and ethical path.
- Poor planning cannot lead to the success of a Bug Bounty program.
- Although Bug Bounty Programs have some disadvantages, their advantages cannot be overlooked and are enough to rely on Bug Bounty Programs. It is just that some measures should be taken to ensure the success of such programs.