Who are today's ethical hackers?

Ethical hacking was once the pursuit of security researchers who wanted something to present at their next conference, or lone wolves who enjoyed the thrill of the chase (but not the threat of prison).

Today ethical hacking has become big business. More and more companies - from the likes of Microsoft and Google, industries giants such as GM and Uber, and even US Government agencies such as the Army and Air Force – now run bug bounty programs and competitions.

Startups such as Bugcrowd and HackerONE that facilitate bug bounty programs claim hundreds of thousands of ethical hackers on their platform between them, all ready to help check the security posture of an organization and make a buck or two in the progress.


Who are the hackers?

Both HackerONE and Bugcrowd have released demographic reports outlining who their hackers are. Bugcrowd claims 80,000 researchers on its platform, HackerONE just over 160,000. But just who are they, where are they from, and why do they hack?

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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