Everything about Bug bounty
Ethical hacking might sound contradictory, but leveraging the skills of the ‘white hat hacker community has done a great job of dealing with the safety and security of the internet. The bug bounty programs have been created to tackle different issues within the code. There are several bug bounties programs that have a keen observation over identifying issues within software or applications. However, other types of programs focus on server or website vulnerabilities.
The Benefits of Open Source (and Its Primary Challenge)
Here we have listed some of the advantages and challenges of an open source below-
With the rapid development and sustainable iterations, open-source software that is abbreviated as (OSS) libraries and frameworks have been in massive demand. There is few traditional proprietary software that can match the fast-track development cycle that is currently utilizing the OSS.
In addition to this, OSS helps in decreasing the cost and timely market cycle by means of reducing the on-time requirements for custom coding. On the other note, it mines existing OSS, which can be quickly shared, modified, and copied.
These days, OSS plays a huge role in the market. According to statistics of the big organizations:
- Both LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) and MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js) development stacks are famously used,
- Android, one of the most popular Linux kernel operating systems on the market, operates on 85% of the world’s smartphones,
- Linux is also used to power three-quarters of the public cloud workload.
As per the statistics made by OpenSource, there are up to 70% of the world’s code databases are working on OpenSource. This simply means that any risk that is related to OSS usage has become challenging to tackle. In older times, open source has never been more important in the software community. Fast, responsive debugging is the crucial priority.
What do you mean by Bug Bounties & How Do They Work?
Cybercriminals are not going to take the lead. At the same time, many Linux and Open-Source developers take pride in their development and offer fixes as soon as possible. The world cannot expect miracles from a product that is offered for free and often created in the developer’s spare time.
Now, another question arises in my mind How Do Bug Bounties Work?
Bug bounty programs have taken a step into this circle.
There is a huge round of space in the ‘Big Tech’ that starts from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple. It also includes some of the smaller firms.
Bug bounties are programs that pay out to interested parties who see and fix vulnerabilities in open-source code before impacting the platforms that are already using it. Generally, a big bounty adds an additional layer of security to software that is developed with OSS.
Types of Bug Bounty Programs
The types of Bug Bounties fall into two categories – Private and Public.
Public programs allow someone to participate who is interested in the league. At the same time, those who are least interested have certain restrictions based on the participants’ existing track record or skill level. Most of the participants can report a potential exploit to them within the guidelines of bounty. Some are even offered off of the specific platform, focusing instead on the general body of OS code.
The workability of the private programs is totally different from the public ones. They only invite the programs, choosing hand-picked ethical hackers based on their skill level and existing statistics. Typically, invitees have already demonstrated great skill in testing the kind of applications the program is focusing on. Some of the invitees will evolve to a public-style bug bounty on a later basis. On the other hand, some remain private for their entire lifecycle. Many private programs are specifically focused on critical coding sections of the platform, which intend to boost security and restrict the vulnerabilities in their product offerings.
What Are the Benefits of Bug Bounties?
So, the primary benefit of bug bounties is easy to detect. Bug Bounties offer a way to financially incentivize researchers to analyze code, report vulnerabilities, and close them before the conversion of them into a big problem. Critically, they also don’t ‘break’ the primary value of the OSS code. The Bug Bounties stay free, shareable, and accessible to any party who requires the same.
What are the other aspects they can fulfill?
The incentives are facilitated to the hidden side of the business by these white-hat hackers to not reveal the fact that what they detect until the matter is fixed or closed. This simply means that cybercriminals don’t get an advanced warning of the issue until it’s too late to take action on anything with that particular information.
Pay for Results
After the follow-up of the specific chain of reporting, the bug bounty programs payout states that they don’t incentivize the wrong people to ‘milk the market’ by creating these types of problems, nor reward bad behavior. Only the ethical hacker exploits the vulnerability.
In some private bug bounty programs, you have a choice to choose who you want to invite to ‘hack’ your product. This can be done by facilitating greater control and discretion in the market. A public program has the fastest outcomes, but it can also be overwhelmingly difficult to manage for smaller security teams.
The usage of a bug bounty program allows programmers and software companies to keep a fresh and vigilant task force on the job. This depicts that the bug loopholes don’t only get identified in Beta, but they constantly come to light. This becomes helpful as updates, and new innovations to older software go live.
Vast Body of Testers
Even the largest companies cannot employ thousands of testers in-house to test the body. They can, however, access them through bug bounty programs. They give access to a huge body of willing testers who are continually working forward to better the software and close dangerous loopholes.
Workers are working in tandem with our previous points; they also remove almost all bias factors when you run a bug bounty program. Testers come from wildly different backgrounds, skill sets, and walks of life across all geographical boundaries. This permits a phenomenal testing pool.
Bug bounty programs can be scaled up or down to suit the company. Smaller entities can initiate gently but expand their testing if their product gains marketplace traction. You can get onboard more expertise at critical times, like during new updates or product launches, and scale it back when there’s less demand.
Regardless of the need to pay out for the successful presentation of a solution, bug bounties typically work out cheaper in the long run than in-house testing. They are cheaper than the loss of reputation, and customers trust that. They exist when a critical vulnerability remains alive.
It’s worth mentioning that no one will be paying for unskilled labor. Private bug bounty programs get to hand-pick who they’re working with. Even public programs are working with skilled testers who have to demonstrate that they can close, not just identify loopholes.
This also places a great deal of control in the hands of the company running a bug bounty. You set the rules, and the ethical hackers engaging with your product come to you with the required solutions. You can even make a choice between how long the program should run, what sort of bugs are being tested for, what you pay out for, and many more.
One single bug bounty program- the Internet Bug Bounty- has managed a lot to uncover over a thousand defects in existing open-source programs, paying out a combined total of $750,000 to the hackers that came forward. On average, each bounty netted $500-$750, although some high-end bounties have been capped at $25,000 for particularly lucrative loopholes. They’ve even used a ‘bragging rights’ billboard as an extra incentive.