In the era of digital communication, reducing the consequences of an exploit on software or web services must be a primary objective. Most companies need to pay more attention to the necessity of security experts and professionals who advise on security, making themselves vulnerable to cyber attacks. A starting point of solution to prepare an organization for cyber security is to tap into the experiences of security professionals and understand the benefits of bug bounty programs and platforms.
What is a bug bounty program, and why have one?
Bug bounty programs, or vulnerability reward programs, enable ethical hackers to use their technical know-how to find vulnerabilities in a company’s network and receive compensation based on the severity. Indulging in or creating a bug bounty program allows organizations to have access to security professionals and step beyond their own testing constraints, enabling them to find more vulnerabilities that they might otherwise overlook. Since these programs are often continuous, organizations must keep working on them as long as the services are provided. With this approach, enterprises don’t have to wait for the subsequent testing cycle to find new vulnerabilities.
What are bug bounty platforms?
Etymologically, bug bounties are the rewards a company gives white-hat hackers (ethical hackers who identify software vulnerabilities in networks, hardware, or software. Bug bounty platforms are dedicated to creating and managing bounty programs for bugs while offering discussion communities to facilitate better security practices. These platforms are used by businesses to provide rewards to seasoned users who test and identify product flaws. Most companies supplement their in-house QA and issue-finding efforts with these platforms’ bug bounty services. Businesses that can test vulnerabilities without disclosing sensitive information benefit most from bug bounty programs.
- Open Bug Bounty
Open Bug Bounty is one of the independently established bug bounty platforms that surfaced in 2014. It is a non-profit project that security researchers developed to connect website owners and security administrators to make the web safer. Any security researcher can disclose a vulnerability on a website using Open Bug Bounty’s coordinated vulnerability disclosure platform as long as the flaw was discovered without intrusive testing methods and was submitted per responsible disclosure standards. The platform follows ISO standard guidelines to ensure ethical and thoughtful disclosure of any.
Open Bug Bounty is only responsible for independent verifications of detected vulnerabilities and notifying website owners. Upon being reported, it is up to the website owner to decide on a suitable remedy and coordinate its disclosure.
Redstorm is one of the bug bounty platforms that help organizations build a team of ethical hackers and security experts as a part of an organization’s infosec team. Using Redstorm’s bug bounty platform, organizations can conveniently publish websites and applications to independent security researchers/ethical hackers who will try to find vulnerabilities in your products.
Redstorm also offers vulnerability disclosure assistance by helping organizations determine the target scope (of what needs to be tested) and the validity of the spotted vulnerabilities.
YesWeHack is one of the emerging European bug bounty platforms and vulnerability management companies. The platform offers a big community of security professionals and white hat hackers who optimize vulnerability testing. Clients can choose the relevant experts in their security, describe their requirements and get the ‘hunters’ to find vulnerabilities. Once done, users receive protected vulnerability reports, ensuring data privacy and disclosure compliance.
YesWeHack also hosts several contests and hackathons to attract people (or ‘hunters’ as they call them) to hone their hacking skills with its DOJO platform. The platform also offers introductory ethical hacking courses and training modules for those who want to learn ethical hacking.
Casey Ellis, a cybersecurity expert, founded BugCrowd, one of the most creative and inventive bug bounty platforms. BugCrowd is known to actively push the standard crowd security testing services and test surface management with a wide range of penetration testing activities for IoT, API, and even networks. The platform also skillfully promotes various software development life cycle (SDLC) integration capabilities to speed up and simplify the DevSecOps workflow.
BugCrowd also has a university where security research, webinars, and ethical hacking training are offered for those who want to learn and participate in bug bounty programs. The renowned (ISC)² cybersecurity education group, and business behemoths like Amazon, VISA, and eBay, have hosted numerous Bug Bounty programs on BugCrowd.
Immunefi is one of the web3 bug bounty platforms that operates the most significant bounties worldwide and is the first operational bug bounty program. It is a unique bug bounty platform with chain-agnostic capabilities, i.e., it hosts bug bounties for blockchain projects. Immunefi has a white hat army of security experts who do continuous code reviews and check for vulnerabilities.
Since its inception in 2020, Immunefi has become an industry leader with a team of over 50 experts. It protects over US$25 billion in user funds spread across multiple projects like chainlink, compound, and cream finance.
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Bugv is one of the bug bounty platforms that help in vulnerability coordination with robust penetration testers and a team of security researchers. It was founded by Naresh LamGade, an independent security researcher and web enthusiast with a vision to make infrastructures more secure and prepared to tackle exploits. After working as a security analyst in the cybersecurity domain, he wanted to help other organizations keep up to date with vulnerabilities and exploits.
HackerOne is one of the leading bug bounty platforms specializing in attack resistance management (ARM). It was founded in 2012 by ethical hackers and security experts to bridge the gap between organizations’ assets and their protection. HackerOne offers ARM to identify relative weaknesses in the constantly changing digital attack surface and combines the security expertise of ethical hackers with asset discovery, ongoing assessment, and process improvement. With HackerOne’s bug bounty platform, organizations can monitor their bug bounty program in real-time and get access to multiple remediation methods.
Bugbase is one of the first few Indian bug bounty platforms and the largest cybersecurity marketplace in the country. Bugbase harnesses a massive ethical hacking talent to ensure security for businesses with an all-in-one platform. It provides one-click integration using security testing solutions to be used within minutes, and bugs are reported within a few hours. Bugbase offers all compliance certifications like CERT-In, PCI, NIST, GDPR, and a few others to ensure data privacy and security.
Synack is one of the most valued commercial bug bounty platforms, founded by security visionaries Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr. Synack offers a robust testing service with end-to-end vulnerability management with Synack365 and a specialized Synack Red Team team for bug bounty operations. The “Synack Red Team” (SRT) is an exclusive group of cybersecurity experts that comprises security specialists with verified backgrounds and respectable industry expertise. By conducting thorough due diligence on their Red Team and documenting every action for later analysis or review, SynAck successfully established itself as the market leader of trusted crowd security testing services.
Inspectiv is a well-known vulnerability management and bug bounty platform that crowdsources web applications to test security and scan for vulnerabilities. It was founded in 2018 to provide world-class cybersecurity intelligence and consulting services. Veritone’s FedRAMP certification validates the platform for third-party assessment controls. It effectively reduces cybersecurity threats through easy identification and a hands-on triage team to validate security concerns.