Most people can dream of becoming a millionaire, but one teenager managed to achieve it from the comfort of his own home. In an impressive feat, he managed to accrue this lofty sum through bug bounties alone. This is a great example of how someone can turn a hobby into a profitable career.
This is all well and good, but what on earth are “bug bounties,” and how does someone make a cool $1 million from them? Let’s take a closer look at this interesting career choice and what it means for the future.
What Is a “Bug Bounty?”
First, let’s break down what a bug bounty is. You may have read our article a few weeks ago on how ethical hackers can make a profit by using their talents on the Internet. These are people who have a knack for breaking security, but they don’t choose to use their talents to commit crimes. Instead, they offer their services to companies who use them to test their security.
The website HackerOne was created to pair hackers with companies that need security testing. It’s a match made in heaven: hackers can get paid for their skills, and companies can get an unbiased opinion on whether their security is good enough to defend against crippling attacks.
This is where Lopez, the teen hacker, made his debut. He taught himself everything he knew after he saw the movie Hackers. He started out in 2016 with humble beginnings, with his first bounty netting him $50. By applying himself more and more, he worked himself up the ranks until businesses like Verizon and Twitter were calling on him to test their security.
This year, 2019, Lopez has managed to climb the ranks and became the world’s first white hat hacker to raise a cool $1 million from bug bounties alone. With over 1,600 detected flaws under his name, Lopez has proven that someone who knows how to hack doesn’t need to break the law to make money.
What Does this Mean for the Future?
With Lopez making more money than the wages of the people whose software he cracked, it has definitely raised the attention of people interested in the venture. For some, hacking is a hobby without reward. With websites such as HackerOne coming to light, however, people can now make some extra money from their passion.
This may very well open up the idea of becoming a “freelance hacker” for computer scientists as a career prospect. They could perform their jobs in the comfort of their own home, locking horns with top industry leaders to try to find bugs and make money.
In return, business owners will have a healthy range of hackers queuing up to be the ones that crack their defenses. While a breach would be bad news, it would have been even worse if a malevolent hacker were to have found the flaw instead!
While it may seem odd for someone to choose ethical hacking as a career choice, the importance of a business’ online presence has made white hat hackers essential. With people making a lot of money with bug bounties, making a career in hacking doesn’t seem like too far-fetched a concept anymore!
Do you think ethical hacking is a viable career choice? Or does it only benefit the lucky few who ‘break through’? Let us know below.