13th June 2024

Reviewing significance of bug bounty programs for businesses!

Some of the biggest brands, including Google, Facebook, and Apple, have bug bounties, and it seems like a trend right now. It is, however, important to outline the effectiveness and need for a practical and functional bounty program. Hackers often don’t “hack” devices and networks. In other words, they don’t just force attack IT resources, but rather focus on exploiting existing security vulnerabilities. Have you ever wondered if it is possible to hack your company’s recorder? Or whether one of your employees can access a system just by bypassing a code? Finding flaws within the existing cyber defenses can be hard, and that’s where ethical hacking comes in the picture. 

Engage the security community

The purpose of a bug bounty program is to allow ethical hackers to “hack” into your networks and systems, so as to find issues that can be other exploited by real hackers. In simpler words, you are basically trying to use the security community to strengthen your cybersecurity efforts. So, how do bug bounty programs work? In general, a company mentions the terms, conditions and other aspects of a bounty program, and ethical hackers try to discover and report vulnerabilities, in exchange of a promised reward. Some programs are public, while others are private.

Factors that matter

There are a few hurdles in running bug bounty programs though. Firstly, without clarity and how the program works, things can go for a toss. Secondly, it is important to ensure that ethical hackers do not exploit these suspected flaws and vulnerabilities. In other words, your business needs to develop a bug bounty program that is lucrative to the targeted hackers, and it has to be a time-bound one. Also, managing such a program can require extensive expertise. For instance, how would you decide if a hacker is to be paid? What if there are multiple claims for the same vulnerability? This is the precise reason why many companies prefer to hire other services for managing their bounty programs, as it also allows them to run an entire system in budget. 

Final word

There is no way to be entirely immune to cyberattacks, but employee training and bug bounty programs are some of the proactive measures that work for most companies, regardless of other factors. Do your homework and ensure that your business does it part for engaging the security community, but do keep other measures in place, such as penetrative testing.