In the early years of the Internet, people used to think that hacking is some Internet crime where a hacker steals data for monetary reasons. The image of a hacker was that of an intelligent person gone awry. As the years passed on, this illegal activity has been transformed into a full-time career. Now the cyber companies are inviting hackers to find a bug in their programmes, and these smart hackers are earning fortunes in return. This new age lottery has encouraged a lot of hackers to try their luck and intelligence on these software programmes.
These hackers inform about the vulnerability in the company’s programme and report it back to the company. The company fixes out the issue, and the hackers get a bounty in return. At a hacking competition that will be held in Vancouver, the leading software company, Google has kept a prize of around $3 million for the hackers. Any hacker who will identify the critical vulnerability in Chrome OS in Samsung series 5,550 will receive the award of $3 million. If any participant takes over the Chrome book user’s browser in this hacking event or the entire computer using a malicious web page, then the hacker will receive an around $110,000 as a payout. Further, there is a prize of around $150,000 for maintaining persistent control over the system between the reboots of the machine.
Recently, a Russian security researcher has identified an error in Facebook that could have enabled hackers to hide malicious code in uploaded image files. This man named Andrew Leonov received a sum of $40,000 to discover the flaw in an open source photo-editing tool. Last year, Apple also announced a bug bounty programme. Hackers had to find out the vulnerability while targeting kernel exploits and data security. The Company has offered a payout of around $200,000 for errors related to boot firmware. For discovering issues with its sandboxing process, they kept prize money of around $25,000.
Another hacker Jobert Abma from the Netherlands has gone one step ahead and established a start-up named HackerOne. He has made around $80,000 in just eight months by bug hunting, and his first client was his university. His average bounty is $4,000 per bug, and the largest payout he got was around $30,000. This man started hacking at the age of 13 and has hacked the local TV station in his teenage years. Abma said that the top hackers are earning around $200,000 to $500,000 per year. Most of them are the software engineer or in the computer security department.
Hacking is not a work of a naive but requires a lot of expertise and intelligence. It is often used for malicious motives as ransomware. This new trend of inviting hackers will not only improve the programmes but will also provide a source of earning to these brilliant minds. Companies always perform the routine security check on their programmes before launching it, but still, hackers find the loophole in it. These contests help them in the correction of even the minutest of mistake.