Facebook is going to pay hackers to find problems with its website — just so long as they report them to Facebook’s security team first.
The company is following Google and Mozilla in launching a Web “Bug Bounty” program. For security related bugs — cross site scripting flaws, for example — the company will pay a base rate of $500. If they’re truly significant flaws Facebook will pay more, though company executives won’t say how much.
“In the past we’ve focused on name recognition by putting their name up on our page, sending schwag out and using this an avenue for interviews and the recruiting process,” said Alex Rice, Facebook’s product security lead. “We’re extending that now to start paying out monetary rewards.”
On Friday, Facebook launched a new Whitehat hacking portal where researchers can sign up for the program and report bugs.
Many hackers go public with the software and website flaws they find to gain prestige. Finding an important bug on a widely used website such as Facebook can help make a journeyman hacker’s career, and going to the press with the issue can make him — or her — famous.
But talking about the issue before Facebook has had a chance to patch it, can be risky for Facebook users. In recent years, other companies have started these bug bounty programs to encourage hackers to keep quiet about the problems they find until they are patched.
Thanks Robert McMillan.