IDG News Service - Facebook is going to pay hackers to find problems with its website -- just so long as they report them to Facebook's security team first.
The company is following Google and Mozilla in launching a Web "Bug Bounty" program. For security related bugs -- cross site scripting flaws, for example -- the company will pay a base rate of $500. If they're truly significant flaws Facebook will pay more, though company executives won't say how much.
"In the past we've focused on name recognition by putting their name up on our page, sending schwag out and using this an avenue for interviews and the recruiting process," said Alex Rice, Facebook's product security lead. "We're extending that now to start paying out monetary rewards."
On Friday, Facebook will launch a new Whitehat hacking portal where researchers can sign up for the program and report bugs.
Many hackers go public with the software and website flaws they find to gain prestige. Finding an important bug on a widely used website such as Facebook can help make a journeyman hacker's career, and going to the press with the issue can make him -- or her -- famous.
But talking about the issue before Facebook has had a chance to patch it, can be risky for Facebook users. In recent years, other companies have started these bug bounty programs to encourage hackers to keep quiet about the problems they find until they are patched.
Google pays between $500 and $3,133.70, depending on the severity of the flaw.
The Web bug bounty program has helped Google uncover a lot of programming errors in the past eight months, most of which have been in Google's lesser-known products, a company spokesman said this week.
Google sees its Web program as a big success. "We're very happy with the success of our vulnerability reward program so far. We've already given out $300,000 and have seen a variety of interesting bugs," the spokesman said in an e-mail message.
Facebook's security team already engages in a lot of dialogue between security researchers and its own programmers. The company is contacted between 30 and 50 times each week by hackers. Their information leads to an average of about one to three "actionable bugs," per week, Rice said. Most of these are cross-site scripting or cross-site request forgery issues. These are both very common Web programming errors that could be abused by scammers and cybercrooks to rip off Facebook users.
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- Top Tips for Securing Big Data Environments: Why Big Data Doesn't Have to Mean Big Security Challenges Organizations must come to terms with the security challenges they introduce. As big data environments ingest more data, organizations will face significant risks...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!