White hat hackers who uncover security bugs on the internet are now eligible to collect ‘bounties’ for their help thanks to a new program sponsored by Facebook and Microsoft.
You might think that the term “hacker” is a negative one, but in truth there are many good hackers employed by companies, governments, or even working freelance, who help to find flaws that could otherwise compromise software and security. These ethical hackers are referred to as “white hat” hackers, a term which denotes that unlike so-called “black hats”, they are the good guys.
For helping to uncover a vulnerability, hackers can hope to claim sizable bounties, some of which pay out $5,000 and more per security flaw. Bounties are all sponsored by Facebook and Microsoft, and the two companies head the research team along with Google, Etsy, and security firm iSec Partners.
To collect bounties, a hacker must identify bugs which pose a security threat to multiple companies, as well as flaws which could have serious negative consequences for the general public. The more severe the security flaw, the higher the bounty will be.