With $40 million in bug bounties paid in 2019, hacker-powered bug bounty platform HackerOne nearly doubled the amount paid out in all previous years combined, reaching $82 million.
The platform, which in 2019 also doubled the number of registered hackers, surpassing the 600,000 mark, received over 150,000 valid vulnerability reports last year, as part of more than 1,700 customer programs, run by both companies and government agencies.
HackerOne also announced that a total of seven hackers surpassed $1 million in lifetime earnings, thirteen more hitting $500,000 in lifetime earnings, and 146 hackers earning $100,000.
HackerOne’s 2020 hacker report shows that 78% of hackers are using their hacking experience as a career opportunity. Roughly 40% of hackers spend 20 hours or more per week searching for vulnerabilities, and 18% consider themselves full-time hackers.
The report also reveals that 84% of hackers learned their craft through online resources and self-directed educational materials. Only 16% completed a formal class or certification.
Hackers from 146 countries submitted reports last year. Of the total bounties paid, 19% went to hackers in the U.S. Those in India earned 10% of bounties, followed by Russia at 8%, China at 7%, Germany at 5%, and Canada at 4%.
In 2019, federal governments experienced the strongest year-over-year industry growth at 214% — 22 new programs were launched with governments in North America, Asia and Europe in 2019 — and the first programs at municipal level were launched last year.
“Hackers are a global force for good, working together to secure our interconnected society,” said Luke Tucker, senior director of community at HackerOne. “The community welcomes all who enjoy the intellectual challenge to creatively overcome limitations. Their reasons for hacking may vary, but the results are consistently impressing the growing ranks of organizations embracing hackers through crowdsourced security — leaving us all a lot safer than before.”
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