A small band of web wizards patrol the Internet looking for potential security hazards, with major firms offering payouts for their hard work.
If you thought all computer hackers were out there to steal your credit card information and personal details you’d be very wrong. Some hackers are actually bedroom superheroes, fighting crime and injustice wherever they see it. And they do it all for the love of keeping the Internet safe.
Ok, that last bit is not completely true. In some cases they do it because major brands and net companies offer rewards to hackers that spot potential loopholes in their security systems.
It’s called a bug bounty. And it’s exactly that. They offer bounties to find bugs in the system. And some of the world’s biggest tech companies are involved.
A new infographic (Shown Below) from Nimbus Hosting has listed some of the world’s most successful (and profitable) bug bounty hunters. These clever boys and girls have gone deep into the security systems of mega giants like Google, Facebook and PayPal and discovered little glitches. If exploited by less scrupulous hackers, they could be potentially disastrous.
Let’s take a famous example. You may remember the Heartbleed crisis that started back in 2014. There was a small defect in Google’s OpenSSL cryptography that almost resulted in the loss of private details of millions, as well as potentially catastrophic security breeches for payments.
Luckily, Neel Metha, a member of Google’s security team was playing around one day when he came across the flaw completely by accident. This bit of good luck potentially saved the company billions and Neel was rewarded with $15,000 for his troubles.
Brazilian Reginaldo Silva claimed one of the biggest bug bounty payouts ever from Facebook, after spotting a loophole in its security coding for OpenID. The company paid him $33,500 for his troubles.
In fact, so widespread is the practice that some ethical hackers now make a living out of it. Russian student Sergey Glazunen earned $145,000 for spotting 59 various bugs in Google Chrome’s coding between 2012 -13. Not a bad annual salary.
So, the next time you think about hackers, don’t imagine them all trying to get their hands on your bank details. Spare a thought for those on the right side of the Thin Blue Line, trying to do what’s right.