Ethical Hackers Stymie $27bn of Cybercrime

  • Ethical hackers have prevented $27bn worth of cybercrime during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research by California crowdsourced cybersecurity platform Bugcrowd.

    The finding was part of Bugcrowd’s latest annual Inside the Mind of a Hacker report, which was published today. The research is based on the analysis of survey responses and security research conducted on the platform from May 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021, in addition to millions of proprietary data points collected on vulnerabilities from 2,961 security programs.

    Nearly three quarters of respondents (74%) said vulnerabilities had increased since the outbreak of COVID-19. Most hackers (80%) found a vulnerability they had not encountered before the pandemic.

    Almost half of the hackers (45%) said they believe that lack of scope inhibits the discovery of critical vulnerabilities.

    Other key takeaways from the report were that 91% of ethical hackers do not believe that point-in-time testing can secure companies year-round.

    Commenting, Tim Wade, technical director of Vectra’s CTO team, said: “Security testers asserting that point-in-time testing cannot secure companies year-round is a reflection of what software delivery professionals have known for years and years – shorter, more agile cycles improve quality.”

    Most of the hackers (71%) said that they earn more from the San Francisco–based Bugcrowd now that most companies work remotely.

    Casey Ellis, founder and CTO at Bugcrowd, said that for many of the platform’s hackers, earnings are going up and payments are being delivered faster.

    “Our report found that 47% of ethical hackers earned more on Bugcrowd than they did in the previous period and the time between sending a report and receiving payment had decreased on the Bugcrowd platform, in some cases less than 30 minutes,” said Ellis.

    Ellis added that he was inspired by the ingenuity and entrepreneurial mindset of individuals drawn to ethical hacking.

    “Our latest report shows that 79% of ethical hackers taught themselves how to hack using online resources,” said Ellis.

    “The report also found that this is the youngest, and most ethnically diverse, generation of ethical hackers in history.”

    Ellis described the impact of this new wave of White Hat hackers on thwarting cyber-attacks and advancing the industry as “monumental” and “sure to continue.”