Side Hustle for the Cyber Sector
During the 2020 COVID lockdowns some Cyber Security experts found time to put their hacking skills to use, searching and reporting bugs in large companies software and it’s proved to be a very profitable side hustle.
According to BBC news hackers made a whopping 40 million in 2020 for reporting software flaws through a bug reporting service.
So how do you do it?
Bug reporting services such as HackOne and YesWeHack offer subscriptions to large companies to be monitored for software flaws and bugs and they provide a platform for hackers to offer their services in a freelance capacity outside of their day jobs.
BugCrowd another bug reporting service reported a 50% increase in submissions over the past 12 months.
At YesWeHack their pool of 22,000 hackers had found double the number of bugs in 2020 compared with 2019.
The rise in security vulnerabilities over the past year could be attributed to the newly implemented work from home model that many companies had to adopt due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The 2021 Hacker Report from HackerOne showed a 63% increase in the number of bugs reported by their ethical hackers.
Hackers who freelance for these services are called Bug Bounty Hunters, basically ethical hackers who find bugs or security issues in companies’ software.
There is decent money to be made in the Bug Bounty Hunting business with HackerOne reporting that 9 of their best hackers have earned in excess of 1 million dollars for their work.
But money isn’t the only motivator for the ethical hackers, Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and part-time bug bounty hunter Katie Paxton-Fear told BBC news it’s a challenge and a chance to do some good during these difficult times saying
“I remember finding my first bug and literally shaking and realising: ‘Wow I just saved people from a pretty big flaw.’
“I’m not just using my time to win a prize, I’m actively helping secure applications I use, so for me it’s a challenge mixed with doing something good.”
The industrious nine at HackeOne who have earned over 1 million also find value in offering their services for good. One of these hackers is reformed blackhat hacker Tommy DeVoss who now uses his superior hacking skills for good chasing down bugs and security flaws with HackerOne.
He told ZDNet “The biggest determining factor is the fact I’ve just been doing this for so long and I’ve seen so much stuff. I’ve been a system admin and I’ve been a developer. I know the mistakes that get made because I’ve made those mistakes,” he says.
Specialisation is key for these nine super hackers with each hacker going after different types of bugs.
“None of us have the same skillset and I think that’s why we’re all able to be successful at the same time, instead of fighting each other for the exact same bugs,”.
If you’re interested in getting into Cyber Security or expanding your skill set in the field check out our Certificate IV in Cyber Security or contact us to discuss your options in this exciting and expanding industry.