Are you familiar with the terms “Web Hacking” or “Website Penetration testing”? Those are highly specialized Cyber security areas. There are a number of bug bounty platforms on the web where you can earn money by hacking websites. Don’t get me wrong though. There’s nothing illegal about it. In fact, companies and organization hire Cyber security researchers and Ethical hackers to test their websites for security vulnerabilities. Now there’s a whole ecosystem that connects such organizations with security experts.
How does a Bug Bounty Program work?
Bug Bounty program allows companies to get ethical hackers to test their websites and applications. The Hacker / Security Researcher test the apps for vulnerabilities that can potentially hack them. This allows the organizations to secure their web applications so they may not get hacked by black-hat (unethical) hackers. Once the security expert submits a valid vulnerability, the organization reviews it and pays the expert. That’s how bug bounty programs work.
How to Become a Website Penetration Tester
It’s very important to know that bug bounty hunting is a specialized skill that requires you to have intermediate knowledge about IT systems and websites. If you’re completely new to the IT field, you will have to learn the basics of networking and how websites work. Also, some knowledge about practical cyber security can help a huge deal.
Once you know the basics, you can advance towards learning specific skills that allow you to conduct website penetration testing. It’s not as hard as it sounds. But you need to put in a lot of focus into learning those tools and techniques.
If you’re new to website hacking, it’s better to start with a training course.
Here’s a great hands-on course that starts from the basics and takes you to the advanced level with practical exercises: The Complete Web Penetration Testing and Bug Bounty Course.
List of Bug Bounty Platforms that Pay
Here are some of the most reliable and recognized bug bounty websites where you can become a member and get paid to hack websites:
HackerOne is undoubtedly the world’s largest ethical hacking community. Experts from almost all countries participate and collaborate on this platform. They host some of the largest companies in their bug bounty programs.
As an ethical hacker, you can join the community and participate in their bounty programs. Hackers have earned over $100 million in cash rewards for finding vulnerabilities and weaknesses in web apps. They also have a hacking class that allows you to learn the basic principles of web hacking.
All you need to do is signup for an account and create your profile. To participate in the programs, you can browse through the list here. The rewards are mentioned against each program.
BugCrowd is a similar platforms that allows you to join as a security researcher and help companies find weaknesses in their websites. They offer many public bounties that you can take part in and earn money.
Once you find a vulnerability, you can create a Bug report and submit it to the specific organization to which it belongs. Once they review your report and accept it, you will receive instant payments. You can browse through the available programs from this list. The platform supports payments via Paypal and Payoneer.
If you have good feedback rating and performance statistics, you might get invites to private programs that companies offer frequently.
Yogosha is a popular ethical hacking community that accepts applications from all over the world. It’s a close community that offers private bounty programs to the successful candidates.
Getting into Yogosha is a bit harder than other platforms. They have a rigorous testing process that only 25 percent of candidates are able to pass on average. Before you start with the selection process, make sure that you have all the knowledge and skills required for website pen testing.
The company also evaluates you for your trustworthiness and reliability. So don’t bother submitting the application unless you know what you’re doing.
SafeHats is a globally managed bug bounty platform that hires the best of the best security researchers to join their team. They call it the “SafeHats Tiger Team”.
As a researcher, you can apply to be a part of their elite team. You will be assessed for your experience, skills and intelligence. The getting in part is hard but once you do, you will enjoy some exclusive benefits.
As a Tiger team member, you will gain hands-on experience with the latest tools and equipment available in the market.You might also get access to some private exclusive programs. Additionally, you get a SafeHats Tiger badge that you can brag about.
Intigriti is one of the biggest online communities for cyber security experts in Europe. They offer you complete flexibility to work according to your own schedule.
The best feature about the platform is the variety of industries you’re able to work for. This includes Web hacking, Network hacking or IoT. They also have a ranking system that allows you to compete with other experts.
Their payment mechanism is exceptionally good. Once your report is accepted, you will be paid instantly via Wire Transfer, Paypal or Payoneer.
SynAck is a renowned global penetration testing platform that works with clients all over the globe. As a security expert, you can join their “Red Team” which is an elite team of researchers from over 80 countries.
They have a detailed selection process after which you will get accepted into a recognized team of experts. As a member, you will be working with some of the largest brands to secure their systems and web apps.
As you progress on the platform, you will achieve new levels. You will receive instant payments as soon as your reported vulnerabilities get accepted.
YesWeHack is a global bug bounty platform that hires hackers from all over the world. As a researcher, you will be working with global clients to secure their web applications. The amount you can earn as bounty depends on the severity of the vulnerability itself. If it’s critical, you should expect a higher payout than usual.
Researchers are awarded points based on their experience. The interaction with clients also plays an important role in determining your level. The more points you have, the more money you can earn.
HackenProof is a cyber security coordination platforms that connect security researchers to work in bug bounty programs. As a hacker, you will be able to participate in multiple programs and submit reports for each vulnerability that you discover.
For each report that you submit, you will earn some points. Those points are in the form of “USDT”. You can convert them to local currently via their exchanges. Here’s the list of exchanges that they support.
UpSecurit is a global platform that invites ethical hackers to join their team of researchers. As a member, you will enjoy exclusive features of their Bug hunter club. You can start earning money from day one by participating in the bounty programs.
As you discover more and more vulnerabilities, you will earn points. Points will determine your ability to climb up the ladder and get access to opportunities with higher payouts. However, the platform is still relatively new, so you might not get too many opportunities in the start.