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Good evening dear virtual friends, how are you tonight? We all somehow associate hackers with bad deeds, and we forget these “moral hackers”. I think it's time to write a little about them.
Although the word “hacker” is often used in a pejorative sense, their ability to spot vulnerabilities in company software and online security systems is highly sought after.Moral hackers today make big money in a growing industry.
James Kettle is a bug hunter - not bugs that are insects, but "bugs" in software.
It searches pages and pages of program code for errors - vulnerabilities that criminals could use to break into a company's network and steal data.
Since his computer science studies were too slow for him, he looked for something else to do and came across "bug rewards" programs run by Google and the creator of the Mozilla search engine.
These are the systems through which hackers make money by finding bugs in companies' software.
"They really made us work hard, it took me about 50 hours for every real bug I found," James recalls.
The reward for work, in addition to money, was reflected in the emergence of an insatiable desire to continue to find errors in the code, which over time turned into a lucrative career.
And he is very good at his job.
What it takes to find bugs:
Solid technical expertise in internet and network technologies
Patience and commitment
Ability to solve tasks and puzzles
He is today one of the highest paid bug finders at Hackervan, a service that connects hackers with companies and governments looking for experts to test their software.
Elite moral hackers, or "positives", can earn more than $ 350,000 a year. Based on bug rewards programs, hackers earn an average of $ 50,000 a month, and some programs can charge up to $ 1 million in total a year, insiders say. industry.
It is very rare to find bugs that have never been found before, and large fees are paid for that, sometimes in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
James Kettle works for Portswiger, a company that makes software, including the Barp Suite tool, which many hackers use to examine websites and check if it is possible to use them.
Most software contains errors because it is compiled by people who are imperfect, and criminals are constantly searching for program code to find such vulnerabilities, often using automated tools.
"Positive" hackers race with bad guys, "negative" hackers, to find such weaknesses before them.
The difficulty lies in the fact that until almost a small number of companies had enough human resources to deal with this problem. That is why they hired expert companies such as Hackervan, Bagkraud and Sajnek, for crowdsourcing.
These firms represent proven moral hackers, manage bug rewards programs, control and validate performance, and provide confidentiality to their clients.
He says that there is often no formal procedure for reporting bugs, except for the general email address of the administrator. Bug bug companies allow bug reports to reach the right people.
However, he says, due to the rapid growth in the number of bug rewards programs and large cash fees, the offer has become too large.
"The situation is constantly changing, and finding bugs is getting harder."
That's why he specializes in finding companies that have made mistakes in cloud memory accounts on Amazon. So far, he has found 5,000 accounts that seem to have been opened to the public in the wrong way.
"Now hunting bugs for bugs is a hobby, which is helpful from time to time when I need a little more money for children," he says.
An additional advantage of such programs is that they keep hackers away from the dark side.
"Bug bug programs are a permissible alternative for technology professionals who might otherwise be prone to criminal activity in the form of real hacking of a system and illegal sale of data from it," says Terry Ray, director of technology at data security company Imperva.
Maybe it's time for even more hackers to return to the herd? What do you think?