Security Experts:

Twitter Launches Bug Bounty Program via HackerOne

In an effort to thank researchers who responsibly disclose security vulnerabilities, Twitter has introduced a bug bounty program powered by the HackerOne platform.

Security experts have already reported tens of Twitter flaws over the past three months via HackerOne, but issues submitted before September 3, 2014 were not eligible for a monetary reward. However, from now on, those who report vulnerabilities on twitter.com and its subdomains, Twitter for Android, and Twitter for iOS will be rewarded with a minimum of $140, the company said.

The good news is that a maximum reward limit has not been set, but Twitter has not revealed if it's willing to pay as much as other major companies, which often hand out tens of thousands of dollars for a single serious security issue.

"Reward amounts may vary depending upon the severity of the vulnerability reported. Twitter will determine in its discretion whether a reward should be granted and the amount of the reward. This is not a contest or competition. Rewards may be provided on an ongoing basis so long as this program is active," the social media company said on its HackerOne page.

Researchers will not get any money for reporting vulnerabilities found on other Twitter domains and applications than the ones mentioned before, but they can see their names listed in the company's "Hall of fame."

There are four main conditions that must be met by those who submit security holes: they must not be residents of sanctioned countries like Syria or North Korea, they must not publicly disclose their findings before Twitter gets a chance to roll out a patch, they must be the first to find the reported issue, and the reported vulnerability must be one from the list of qualifying vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability types that qualify for the program are cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), remote code execution (RCE), unauthorized access to direct messages, and unauthorized access to protected tweets. Researchers are advised to use testing accounts, and refrain from spamming, launching denial-of-service attacks, or performing any other action that negatively impacts other customers.

Twitter points out that reports of spam, social engineering Twitter staff, physical attacks, vulnerabilities that only affect users of outdated software, and unverified reports obtained with automated tools are out of scope.

Additional details on Twitter's bug bounty program are available on HackerOne.

In May 2014, HackerOne secured $9 million in a Series A round of funding, and appointed Katie Moussouris, former senior security strategist lead at Microsoft, as the company’s chief policy officer.

Podcast: Katie Moussouris on HackerOne and Bug Bounties

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.