Browse Definitions:
Definition

bug bounty program

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A bug bounty program, also called a vulnerability rewards program (VRP), is a crowdsourcing initiative that rewards individuals for discovering and reporting software bugs. Bug bounty programs are often initiated to supplement internal code audits and penetration tests as part of an organization's vulnerability management strategy.

Many software vendors and websites run bug bounty programs, paying out cash rewards to software security researchers and white hat hackers who report software vulnerabilities that have the potential to be exploited. Bug reports must document enough information for for the organization offering the bounty to be able to reproduce the vulnerability. Typically, payment amounts are commensurate with the size of the organization, the difficulty in hacking the system and how much impact on users a bug might have.

Mozilla paid out a $3,000 flat rate bounty for bugs that fit its criteria, while Facebook has given out as much as $20,000 for a single bug report. Google paid Chrome operating system bug reporters a combined $700,000 in 2012 and Microsoft paid UK researcher James Forshaw $100,000 for an attack vulnerability in Windows 8.1.  In 2016, Apple announced rewards that max out at $200,000 for a flaw in the iOS secure boot firmware components and up to $50,000 for execution of arbitrary code with kernel privileges or unauthorized iCloud access.

While the use of ethical hackers to find bugs can be very effective, such programs can also be controversial. To limit potential risk, some organizations are offering closed bug bounty programs that require an invitation. Apple, for example, has limited bug bounty participation to few dozen researchers.

This was last updated in July 2017

Continue Reading About bug bounty program

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • intrusion detection system (IDS)

    An intrusion detection system (IDS) is a system that monitors network traffic for suspicious activity and issues alerts when such...

  • security information and event management (SIEM)

    Security information and event management (SIEM) is an approach to security management that seeks to provide a holistic view of ...

  • polymorphic virus

    A polymorphic virus is a harmful, destructive or intrusive type of malware that can change or 'morph,' making it difficult to ...

SearchHealthIT

  • accountable care organization (ACO)

    An accountable care organization (ACO) is an association of hospitals, healthcare providers and insurers in which all parties ...

  • patient engagement

    Patient engagement is an ideal healthcare situation in which people are well-informed about -- and motivated to be involved -- in...

  • personal health record (PHR)

    A personal health record (PHR) is a collection of health-related information that is documented and maintained by the individual ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close