Moral Hackers and Bug Bounty Packages

That is the place moral hackers are available. Throughout a latest panel at Infosecurity Europe, we heard from safety professionals at Zoom and Salesforcein addition to hacker Tom Anthony, concerning the cybersecurity challenges organizations face and hackers’ crucial position in addressing these challenges. Right here’s what we discovered.

What Are the Challenges?


The drive for brand new releases and deployments pushes groups to supply at extremely excessive speeds. Because of this, groups more and more usher in automated instruments to cut back the time spent on crucial duties and enhance productiveness. Nonetheless, these instruments should be safe, and safety groups solely have a lot time to totally take a look at and vet new integrations.

Skilled Assets

Organizations are quickly rising the tempo at which they launch new and extra various merchandise as they see higher diversification of use instances, as Zoom noticed throughout the pandemic when educating and medication went on-line. Groups devoted to making sure deployments are safe should work good to maintain tempo. Within the case of Zoom, this implies evolving the safety program to arrange long-term success with numerous groups targeted on securing a speedy launch cycle, masking every little thing from crypto to bug bounty.


Pace has been an overarching theme of challenges in safety environments — sooner deployments, sooner activity completion, sooner progress. One other problem: cybercriminals thrive in an setting the place issues transfer quick. A newly launched product is fertile floor for attackers. With the rising demand for fast releases with restricted assets, organizations can simply make errors, and unhealthy actors can stealthily exploit them.

How Do Moral Hackers Handle Safety Challenges?

1. Safe Enterprise Improvement and Development

Mergers, acquisitionsand different progress initiatives are crucial enterprise methods, however they’re additionally harmful sources of safety vulnerabilities. Whereas your safety staff holds down the interior fort, it may be difficult to allocate assets to vet the safety of accomplice organizations.

For Seema and her staff at Salesforce, “As we make acquisitions, we partner with HackerOne and trusted hackers to gain a solid understanding of our adjusted security posture. Our go-live checklist for new acquisitions includes running targeted campaigns with world-class hackers to find issues with newly acquired products.”

2. Complement Present Safety Groups

Even with the biggest, most skilled safety staff, there’ll all the time be extra vulnerabilities that want skilled consideration. When leveraged correctly by way of bug bounty programsthe hacker neighborhood can perform as an extension of your staff, as they do with Zoom.

Since 2019, Zoom has worked with approximately 900 hackers300 of which have submitted legitimate vulnerabilities for the Zoom staff to remediate. Zoom has paid out over $7 million in bug bounties. “It’s a substantial investment, but the returns are worth it,” says Michael. “We harness world-class talent to find real-world solutions before it’s a real-world problem.”

3. Handle Untargeted Scopes

As we’ve talked about, maintaining with the tempo of growth is a perpetual problem for safety groups — and issues aren’t slowing down. There’s a big distinction between concentrating on particular, recognized vulnerabilities and tackling an untargeted scope. Getting in and not using a clear goal is commonly essential to catch unidentified vulnerabilities however is rather more time-consuming for safety researchers. As hacker Tom Anthony explains, “With pentestingyou have someone come in with certain core competencies and work through a checklist on a specific scope. With bug bounty, you have this huge, untargeted scope that hackers are looking at.”

How Do You Assess Your Bug Bounty Program?

Whereas each group has totally different objectives, there are some common strategies by which any group can assess its bug bounty programs.

Return on Funding (ROI)

Whether or not paying bug bounties or bringing on extra full-time safety researchers, CISOs and their groups have to showcase the ROI of cybersecurity initiatives. Primarily based on the amount of vulnerabilities recognized and bounties paid, the ROI of tapping into the hacker neighborhood is substantial. For Seema and her staff at Salesforce, it’s a no brainer: “From an ROI perspective, bug bounty is one of the most effective programs in our security strategy.”

Vulnerabilities Recognized

Vulnerability knowledge can also be crucial to evaluating the success of a bug bounty program and actioning mitigation protocols. For Michael at Zoom, “We use bug bounty data to identify systemic challenges and repeated vulnerabilities and then build threat models for engineers. We measure vulnerabilities, comply with standards, and report on incidents.” Every bit of vulnerability knowledge helps the Zoom staff assess find out how to remediate and mitigate transferring ahead.

Zoom additionally makes use of highly effective vulnerability scoring standards to make sure strategic prioritization of bounties. Michael explains, “Our Vulnerability Impact Scoring System (VISS) feeds our bug bounty payouts, and we prioritize payments for vulnerabilities that really matter to us; we want hackers focused on critical vulnerabilities, so we orient payouts based on the most critical bugs.”

Salesforce additionally places particular emphasis on the severity of vulnerabilities. In line with Seema, “The findings from the program help enhance our preventative security efforts from the inside out. Our engineering team reviews each report, prioritizes according to the severity, and uses the data to better understand and protect against malicious hackers.”

Hacker Engagement

One other important consider bug bounty program success is the engagement and attraction of hackers in your program. At Salesforce, Seema and her staff “measure researcher engagement and consistently evaluate how they can continue to iterate on and improve our program to grow and retain their community of researchers.”

From Tom’s perspective as a hacker, he appears for just a few various things. “When I’m looking at a new program, I will look at the metrics in terms of time to triage and bounty and to what degree the program is hitting those metrics.”

He additionally recommends organizations discover each private and non-private packages. Tom says, “You will have a large number of researchers finding low-level vulnerabilities in a public program, while a private program allows you to have an elite group of hackers really digging in and finding those critical vulnerabilities.”

Make the Most of Your Bug Bounty Program

Moral hackers play a crucial position in helping safety groups and managing vulnerabilities. It’s paramount that organizations not solely see the worth of the hacker neighborhood for his or her safety initiatives but additionally have interaction that neighborhood successfully with methods which are most useful to everybody. Contact the team at HackerOne to make sure you’re getting probably the most out of your bug bounty program, or get began with a brand new, main program immediately.

Author: Laurie Mercer
Date: 2023-07-25 12:00:00

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Alina A, Toronto
Alina A, Toronto
Alina A, an UofT graduate & Google Certified Cyber Security analyst, currently based in Toronto, Canada. She is passionate for Research and to write about Cyber-security related issues, trends and concerns in an emerging digital world.


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