As I have reported to you for more than a year, various companies and even federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense offer “bug bounties” to vetted hackers who are able to identify vulnerabilities in their software,web pages and computer networks. Google and Facebook have long made cash payments to independent hackers, sometimes called white hat hackers to distinguish them from the criminal black hat hackers, who identified vulnerabilities in their computer code. Generally, these bounties are between $500 and $15,000. Google has paid out millions of dollars in bug bounties since the program was started in 2010.
Now Google is offering a new bug bounty program focused on Android apps found in the Google Play Store. Google is also particularly interested in flaws that may be present in Dropbox, Duolingo, Snapchat, Tinder and Alibaba. The bounty is $1,000 for every flaw that meet Google’s criteria.
This is a positive strategy for businesses and government to follow to enhance cybersecurity. As for us as individuals, the best things we can do to protect our cybersecurity is to keep our anti-virus and anti-malware software up to date on all of our electronic devices and refrain from clicking on links or downloading attachments in all forms of electronic communication until we have absolutely confirmed that the communications are legitimate. Otherwise, the risk of downloading malware is too great.