In today’s world there are dozens of big name companies being hacked every year through countless vulnerabilities in software that we all depend on. This has created a rather bleak public opinion of the term ‘hacker.’ Yet, as Facebook is clearly aware, not all hacking is bad hacking – it just depends on how you use the holes that you have exploited.
Facebook is a company that should be very concerned about cyber security, over a billion (yes, I said a billion) people around the world use this social media behemoth – meaning they have a lot of private information to keep track of. Recognizing this, Facebook started an ongoing public program back in 2011 to give hackers a chance to turn away from the dark side – albeit with a little monetary reward as incentive. They give hackers a chance to quietly report any exploits that they have found directly to Facebook in exchange for a cash bounty.
Colloquially these hackers are known as ‘white hat’ hackers, and there are surprisingly a lot of them. Facebook dished out a total of 1.3 million dollars in 2014 alone through this program, with bounties ranging from as low as $500 to as high as $30,000. Just recently, a hacker named Laxman Muthiyah discovered a way to delete a users photos through Facebook’s graphing API. Grateful for the find, Facebook gave him a whopping $12,500 for reporting it without making it public.
Despite this monetary reward, these hackers can’t be all in it for the money. By exploiting Facebook’s holes on their own or by selling them, they could surely turn a much higher profit than what Facebook is offering. Yet, the reward coupled with a sense of morality are what drive these hackers to continue to do good rather than evil.
– Keegan Parrotte