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Bug Bounty – What Is It And Its Role In Cybersecurity?

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There are two types of hackers – ethical and unethical. Unethical hackers are the ones who exploit system and software vulnerabilities to launch malware and phishing attacks. Ethical hackers, white hat hackers, are the ones who work in rhythm with companies to test the software and firmware that the company uses to identify hidden vulnerabilities before they can be misused.

Precisely, bug bounty programs are run to locate ethical hackers from the clean web community to get the software tested. It helps in reducing the risks like cameras hacked, malware attacks, and phishing threats.

How Does It Work?

Ethical hackers have specific skill sets that they put to use to identify vulnerabilities (bugs). And as surprising as it is, every single application you use has bugs. The best that can be done is identifying and removing them constantly. Whilst you can run testing scans to remove bugs from the cloud and network, install software updates, and delete files that are no longer needed, the best one is still running a bug bounty program.

You can run it on the personal level or hire security experts with links to identify ethical hackers to work for you. The steps involved are listed below.

  • You send invites to ethical hackers.
  • Those hackers agree to enter a non-disclosure contract with your company.
  • The software codes that ethical hackers are allowed to scan can be done only with the help of tools that you approve.
  • When the bug is identified, the hacker sends it for patching.
  • There’s a time of 90 days within which you have to patch the bug and resend it to the hacker who identified it.
  • The hacker then scans the software and determines whether the bug is fixed.
  • You release the software updates for the public to download.
  • There’s again time limit before the hacker can release the bug that was identified.
  • Once the formalities are done, you need to pay the hacker a bounty.
  • The bounty can be money or anything else and the best part is, you decide what to give and how much.

The bounty that you pay depends upon the type of threat discovered – whether the bug is minor or major. Also, you can refuse a bounty if the bug is already identified.

Considering the fact that ethical hackers are as skilled as unethical hackers, giants like Google are always on the lookout for such brains. They keep running bounty programs. You can do the same and even hire an ethical hacker to be a part of your cybersecurity team.

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