Are you interested in cybersecurity? Heard about bug bounty programs but not sure what they are? If you enjoy meticulous research and have a passion for computers, then becoming a bug bounty research or cybersecurity specialist may be the right career path for you. So, what is a bug bounty?
What is a Bug Bounty?
A bug bounty is a reward given to an ethical hacker or cybersecurity specialist for discovering and reporting bugs in a companies’ development applications. Companies can leverage the hacker community to improve their cybersecurity using bug bounty programs.
Once an ethical hacker identifies a bug, they fill out a disclosure report to explain how it impacts the application and the level of severity of the risk. The ethical hacker will detail how the company can recreate the bug and validate that it is a risk. After the company reviews the bug, the company pays the bug bounty researcher for their services.
What is a Bug Bounty Program?
A bug bounty program offers fees paid to cybersecurity specialists that find an error or vulnerability in a computer program, website, application, or system. Organizations will either create their own bug bounty programs or work with third-party networks that bring organizations and hackers together to find bugs.
According to HackerOne, companies create bug bounties and provide financial incentives to bug bounty hunters that discover weaknesses in systems. This way companies identify weaknesses before bad actors can exploit them.
These bug bounty programs can help supplement penetration testing that is provided by cybersecurity specialists.
What are Some Bug Bounty Programs?
There are a few bug bounty programs that bring companies and ethical hackers together. They include:
Connects tens of thousands of security researchers to companies and their applications to identify bugs and vulnerabilities before malicious actors.
HackerOne is the world’s largest community of hackers that help safeguard applications and support companies’ cybersecurity with hackers that perform continuous and comprehensive security testing.
What are Alternative Bug Identification Tactics?
There are a few alternatives to bug bounty programs that can also identify bugs in applications. They include:
An organization may set up a secure channel for customers and good Samaritans that identify vulnerabilities and only want recognition and prestige for finding the bug. This allows ethical hackers to contact the security team directly, without losing information when customers contact sales or support.
Many cybersecurity professionals are trained to administer penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities and bugs that may be available to malicious actors. The difference between bug bounty and penetration testing is that pen testers are paid regardless of they find a vulnerability or not.
Which is Better Bug Bounty Programs or Penetration Testing?
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Does the organization have a budget to hire a penetration tester, or do they only want to pay if someone finds a bug? Is the system confidential and non-disclosure agreements are needed, with penetration testing being more discrete? Does the organization want to open up the system to the public and allow bug bounty researchers to find any and all bugs in the applications? These are some of the questions an organization can ask themselves when considering using a bug bounty program or penetration testing service.
What is Penetration Testing?
Every device, computer or application connected to the Internet will have vulnerabilities within the hardware or software. These systems are accessible by anyone with Internet access. Malicious hackers have tools and scripts that can identify these vulnerabilities. It is up to a cybersecurity professional to identify bugs and vulnerabilities before the malicious hacker and report them to the organization. This will allow the organization to secure the system before the vulnerability causes any problems. The main way a cybersecurity specialist identifies these vulnerabilities is with penetration testing.
Penetration testing focuses on the main types of security vulnerability. They include:
Network Vulnerability – issues with the network hardware or software. For example, hidden backdoor programs that allow users to circumvent firewalls and other security measures to get assess to systems. Another network vulnerability may come from third-party software that is updated on a regular basis and may introduce unknown vulnerabilities.
Operating System Vulnerability – vulnerability located in the operating system that a hacker can exploit or damage. For example, a malicious actor might get access to admin account privileges.
Human Vulnerability – errors by human users to release passwords, fall for phishing scams, expose sensitive data, and create exploitable access points. For example, an employee may run scripts on their network without first running malware or virus protection.
Process Vulnerability – exploitation of the process including weak passwords, email hacking, and poor physical security. For example, some organizations may not fully encrypt data on the network and allow malicious actors that access the network the ability to steal data.
How Long is a Vocational Program in Cybersecurity?
While you can attend a 4-year college in cybersecurity, a technical school can be completed in just over a year, attending full time. If you have 63 weeks to attend cybersecurity classes, then becoming a cybersecurity specialist may be the right career path for you.
Becoming a cybersecurity professional and performing bug bounty hunting and penetration testing is highly rewarding. In as little as 63 weeks, you can learn the cybersecurity trade and start working as an ethical hacker, penetration tester, network defense specialist or digital forensics specialist. Let Peloton College show you the way and start the journey toward becoming a cybersecurity specialist today.
Want to Learn More?
The Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity training program prepares and supports you in obtaining several certifications in support of their cybersecurity career including CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, Pentest, & CySA+. AAS in Cybersecurity training program graduates will typically qualify for entry-level employment in roles such as Information Security Analysts and Computer Network Support Specialists.
The mission of Peloton College is to be the premier provider of hands-on training and education by providing you with the necessary skills to secure occupational careers. Contact us today to learn more.