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Management & Strategy

Facebook Paid $2.2 Million in Bug Bounty Rewards in 2019

Over the course of 2019, Facebook paid security researchers a total of $2.2 million in rewards for vulnerability reports submitted to the social media platform’s bug bounty program.

Over the course of 2019, Facebook paid security researchers a total of $2.2 million in rewards for vulnerability reports submitted to the social media platform’s bug bounty program.

The company received a total of 15,000 vulnerability reports, but paid monetary rewards for only 1,300 of them, to security researchers from over 60 countries. The average bounty reward was of more than $1,500, Facebook says.

For comparison, the social platform paid more than $1.1 million for over 700 valid reports submitted to its bug bounty program in 2018, and more than $880,000 for over 400 valid reports in 2017. Since 2011, the company awarded researchers a total of more than $9.8 million in bug bounties.

Last year, Facebook also made over $35,000 in matching donations to charities in those instances where the security researchers opted to direct their bug bounty rewards to various causes.

The highest payout Facebook made last year went to Youssef Sammouda, who received a $65,000 bounty award for a vulnerability that could lead to data leaks from a copyright management endpoint. This allowed Facebook to patch a “broader framework in the way errors were handled to prevent other endpoints from potentially returning similar data.”

Last year, as part of the data abuse bounty program it launched in 2018, Facebook received a report on SDK providers paying third party app developers to use malicious SDKs in their apps, and removed those apps from its platform.

In 2019, the company also expanded the scope of both its data abuse bounty program — to include Instagram — and its bug bounty program for third-party apps.

In early 2019, Facebook partnered with Google to host the first edition of the BountyCon bug hunting conference in Singapore. There, the company awarded $120,000 in bounty payouts for 40 valid bug submissions made during a live hacking event.

The second BountyCon conference will be held in Singapore in April 2020, just two weeks before SecurityWeek’s 2020 Singapore ICS Cyber Security Conference, an event dedicated to serving critical infrastructure and industrial internet stakeholders in the APAC region.

Related: Twitter, Facebook User Data Improperly Accessed via Malicious SDKs

Related: Facebook: Third-Party App Developers Improperly Accessed User Information

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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