Bug Bounty Programs

Bug Bounty Programs – Understanding Bug Testing, Results and Rewards

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In 2022, Facebook received around 10,000 reports in total and issued bounties on more than 750 reports.

A Bug Bounty program is a deal offered by various organizations that grants recognition or bounties to people who manage to find bugs within their systems or applications. 

The bounty is for the one who reports them to the organizations so that they can get rid of bugs. With the help of these programs, ethical hackers find bugs within the system and then help the companies tackle them by reporting them. 

Bug Bounty Programs

Why do various companies launch Bug Bounty programs? 

Although most organizations have their cybersecurity teams continuously working in the background to keep the system safe and secure, more is needed. 

Numerous giant corporations, like Facebook, Google, etc., are repeatedly launching new applications and developing software that makes it impossible for their security teams to keep track of all the bugs found in them.

Bounty programs are quite effective when targeting bugs within various software or applications. There are other reasons as well.

Cost-effective security testing

Bug bounties are often more cost-effective than traditional security testing methods because companies only pay for results that are valid vulnerabilities. 

This way, companies get a cost-effective way to find bugs and even eliminate them rather than paying a fixed fee for testing services.

Ensures global reach 

Bug bounty programs offer a global reach because they engage security researchers from diverse geographic locations, backgrounds, and skill sets. 

This diversity ensures that the company benefits from a wide range of expertise and perspectives that may not be readily available within its workforce

Companies can identify and address vulnerabilities with different expert levels by tapping into this global talent pool.

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Ensures compliance

Bug bounty programs help companies follow security rules. These programs help identify and address security issues and showcase the company’s dedication to meeting and exceeding the necessary compliance standards.

Mitigates risk 

These programs are like security check-ups for companies. They help find and fix problems before bad actors can exploit them. 

Overall, these programs stop the company from losing its good reputation, getting into legal trouble, and wasting a lot of money on fixing things after a breach.

Data protection

Bug bounty programs ensure collaborative security. They enable companies to harness the collective wisdom of cybersecurity professionals worldwide. 

These external security researchers identify vulnerabilities and check the company’s software and systems. 

Once the potential weakness is discovered, companies perform measures to enhance the defenses.

Type of bug bounty programs 

Regarding the types of bug Bounty programs, there are two major categories.

Private programs

The first one is the private bug bounty programs. Just as the name suggests, these programs are open to some. They’re not offered to the general public. 

The hackers for whom these programs are designed receive a particular invitation through which they get a chance to hack into the system and look for bugs. 

But note – sometimes, these programs are available on a general platform, so hackers can be selected based on criteria.

Public programs

The second category is public bug bounty programs, which are also open to the general public. 

This way, no matter who the hacker is, they are given the right to hack your program and highlight the cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

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Why do hackers participate in bug bounty programs? 

As the program’s name suggests, with every bug you manage to report, there’ll be a bounty waiting for you. These programs are perfect for hackers and researchers to prove their skills to well-known organizations and secure full-time jobs.

These programs can also help test the hackers’ skills and enable them to do better in the future. Plus, you may earn a fortune within a short time because of these programs. 

An Indore-based hacker received 65 crore INR from the Google bug bounty program by discovering 232 vulnerabilities. 

Handsome payout and Talent hunt via bug bounty program

One of the main reasons bug bounty programs are designed is the detection of vulnerabilities within the application or software. As all the applications are man-made, they’re bound to have certain vulnerabilities that may go unnoticed. 

Bug bounty programs help detect such bugs and weak points on time. This way, the companies can eliminate these bugs and create a near-perfect software that everybody loves. For instance, Intel pays up to $ 100,000 for eligible vulnerabilities.

With the help of bug bounty programs, various companies can find IT talents that are otherwise hard to locate. These programs can act like real-life practicals for highly skilled participants. 

The one who manages to find the most vulnerabilities may win the hearts of the company’s stakeholders and thus secure a permanent position in the organization. 

Do Bug Bounty Programs Work?

Yes! They do work. Bug bounty programs aren’t a myth. They’ve proven to be really effective in tightening the cybersecurity of various companies.

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11 Best Bug Bounty Programs 

Companies introduce bug bounty programs to encourage ethical hackers or security researchers to discover and report security vulnerabilities in their software, websites, or systems. 

These programs play a vital role in enhancing cybersecurity. Such programs leverage the skills and expertise of the global hacking community to identify and rectify weaknesses before malicious actors can exploit them. 

Let’s look into the best of them.

Microsoft Bug Bounty Program

The bug bounty program run by Microsoft is quite popular among independent researchers and hackers due to its extraordinary range of rewards. Their bounty program is divided into various categories, each having its own worth. 

For example, if you manage to find a bug in Microsoft Hyper-V, you can win up to $250,000. On the other hand, if you manage to find a vulnerability in Microsoft.NET, you can receive up to $150,000

Apple Bug Bounty Program

The Apple bug bounty program is one of the leading bug bounty programs in the world. It’s precisely because of their open-heartedness when it comes to distributing bounties among the hackers. 

Google Bug Hunters

The whole world revolves around Google these days. There’s always new software or an update that this platform has to offer. 

Numerous Google services come with a lot of perks. However, more services mean more vulnerabilities, and more vulnerabilities mean more bounty programs. 

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The Google Bug Hunters program lets you find bugs in various services like YouTube, Gmail, Bugspot, etc. An online university regarding this program even helps new researchers access various resources. You can win up to $30,000 with the help of Google Bug Bounty Programs. 

Samsung Bug Bounty Program

The main focus of the Samsung Rewards Program is its mobile products. We all know that Samsung mobiles are taking the world by storm due to their extraordinary features and qualities. That’s why the company especially focuses on them. 

However, unlike other bounty programs, their policies are quite strict, and you need to get acquainted with them as much as possible. You can receive rewards from $200 to $200,000 with the help of the Samsung Rewards Program.

X Bug Bounty Program

The X Bug Bounty Program is a cybersecurity initiative encouraging hackers and security researchers to collaborate with Twitter to identify and mitigate potential security vulnerabilities across its platform. 

Security experts who discover and responsibly disclose security flaws are rewarded financially. The compensation depends on the severity of the vulnerability. 

By offering this program, X strengthens its security posture and promotes a culture of transparency and collaboration within the cybersecurity community. 

The bounty reward offered by X ranges from a mere $140 to whooping $15000.

Meta Bug Bounty Program 

Meta Bug Bounty Program has a range of applications ranging from Facebook to Instagram, WhatsApp to Messenger, and much more. The bounty begins from $500 and increases with the intensity of vulnerabilities you discover. 

If multiple hackers find the same vulnerability, the reward goes to the first person submitting the report.

Intel Bug Bounty Program 

The world of technology has another forerunner called Intel that offers an awe-inspiring bug bounty. This program mainly targets firmware, hardware, and even software. 

Due to the wide range of targets, the bounty program is versatile and offers numerous rewards. 

From the rewards of $500 for detecting simple bugs to the rewards of $30,000 for detecting critical bugs, you can have your pockets full of money if you make an effort. 

Snapchat Bounty Program

Snapchat is the app of the new era that’s loved by kids, teens, and adults alike. With the addition of new features and filters every day, it’s bound to have some bugs in it as well. 

The Snapchat Bug Bounty Program offers the hackers a minimum of $2000 and a maximum of $15000 to detect any bugs or cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

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Once you submit a report regarding a bug to the Snapchat team, it’ll review it within the first 30 days. 

Cisco bug bounty program

Another remarkable bug bounty program is offered by a renowned company called Cisco. With the help of this program, you can earn up to $2500 without any problem. 

All you have to do is look for the cybersecurity loopholes in the system and submit a report. 

Quora 

Quora is a famous site that helps answer most of your questions. This site has gained immense importance for the past few years, and whenever somebody has an important question, they reach out to it.

Quora Bug Bounty Program pays you to find bugs or vulnerabilities in its site, and the money it pays is quite tempting. You can earn between $500 and $11000 for finding weak cybersecurity points or bugs on this site. 

Mozilla bounty Program

The Mozilla Bug Bounty Program is an initiative by the Mozilla Foundation that rewards security researchers and hackers for finding and responsibly disclosing security vulnerabilities in Mozilla’s software products and services. 

This program encourages identifying and reporting security issues in Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, and other Mozilla projects. 

Rewards are offered based on the severity of the vulnerability and the quality of the report, with higher payouts for more critical issues. 

This helps Mozilla improve the security of its software and protect its users from potential threats. You can earn up to $ 5,000 after finding a critical bug in the system.

How to get started for bug bounty programs?

As a researcher or cybersecurity professional, you can test your skills on various targets and get paid well with bounty programs.

But remember, to be an aspiring bug bounty hunter, you need different knowledge, experience, and skill levels. Here is how you get started.

Learning computer networking 

To become a bug bounty hunter, you must have decent computer networking knowledge. You must be proficient with the fundamentals of internetworking, IP addresses, Mac addresses, TCP/IP stack, or OSI stack. 

There are different resources available online that can teach you these skills.

Also, you need to know basic VPNs to penetrate the system better. Studying a reliable VPN will teach you how base-level security works.

Familiarize yourself with Web technologies and hacking techniques

Along with networking, you must have a basic understanding of web programming and protocols. Make sure you know about JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. At the same time, you need to know http FTP, TLS, etc. 

Also, know the famous hacking techniques. 

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Practice on virtual and real targets

Finding a vulnerability in some prominent organizations in a single go is impossible. You need a lot of practice and can join different virtual bug-finding programs for more training. Once you are confident enough, you can start hurting for real, but bounty programs to apply and test your skills. 

What if a bounty is waiting for you?

Bug bounty programs defend against cyber threats by incentivizing ethical hackers and security experts to actively seek out and report software, websites, and online services vulnerabilities. 

These programs help organizations promptly identify and remediate security flaws and provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional security audits. 

Bug bounties create a mutually beneficial relationship between organizations and security researchers. They foster a collaboration and knowledge exchange that strengthens the overall cybersecurity ecosystem. 

Furthermore, they enhance an organization’s public image, demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding user data and digital assets. 

A bounty is likely waiting for you if you are a cyber professional.

author

Marrium Akhtar

date

October 2, 2023

time

10 months ago

Marrium is a dedicated digital Marketer and an SEO enthusiast who is skilled in cracking SEO codes. Other than work, she loves to stream, eat, and repeat.

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