Hackers For Hire

The term “hackers” dates back to the 1960s at MIT.  “Hacker” is used to describe extremely skilled individuals that practiced hardcore programming in FORTRAN and other older languages (HelpNet Security). In today’s society, when someone speaks of a “hacker”, we automatically assume that the person was trying to do something illegal and perform a major scam or breach into a network. The term “hacker” stirs up controversy among organizations and leaves a sore-spot with many.  What if there was a solution… Are there good hackers today?  If you answered “YES”, then you answered correctly.

Businesses are using these good hackers to help better protect their systems and servers. Hackers work on exposing vulnerabilities within the network and will then be compensated for their work. The “Bug Bounty Hacker Report” surveyed 617 different hackers who had submitted at least one vulnerability through HackerOne and found that money is a constant motivator for all hackers; though, the runner-up reason for why hackers do this is for fun. Just like anywhere, different places will compensate differently.  The monetary payout can range from $20,000 up to $350,000 for the most skilled hackers.

178489914_2.jpgIs “Hackers For Hire” the hot new topic?  We think so! Apple announced last month that they would offer up to $200,000 to hackers who could find software flaws in their products.  This may come as a shock; though, Apple isn’t the first big name company to invest money into hackers.  The Pentagon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, and Google have all introduced various bucks-for-bugs programs and pay out a pretty penny to the ones who find the errors. Facebook alone paid out a whopping $4.3 million to researchers since it started its program back in 2011 (NBC News).

The Pentagon recently invited outside hackers to test the cybersecurity of U.S. Department of Defense’s websites. “Hack the Pentagon” allowed  cyber experts to find and identify program flaws before malicious hackers could exploit them. While “Hack the Pentagon” plays an important role in our security, it also allows people to show their talents and prove that they are an asset as a hacker. There was a wide variety of age groups who participated; though, the one contestant that stood out the most was 18-year-old David Dworken. David was one of 1,400 participants invited to “Hack the Pentagon” beta program and one of 250 who submitted bug reports (Kaspersky Lab).

“Hackers For Hire” are a vital gear in the cybersecurity machine. We depend on these individuals to search our security infrastructures and find the gaps that could devastate the economy and leak confidential information. With the help from these “hackers” we can continue to build a stronger security structure and limit the level of doubt in our protectors.