Ethical hackers earned nearly $45 million (₹328 crore) collectively by participating in bug bounty programs of companies like Google and PayPal in the last 12 months, a new global report by cybersecurity firm Atlas VPN shows.
Unlike criminal hackers, ethical hackers help organizations discover various security weaknesses that can make them susceptible to online attacks and frauds. Through bug bounty programs, companies pay hackers for reporting software bugs.
Ethical hackers reported 60,000 valid vulnerabilities from May 2019 up to April 2020, while receiving $979 on average per single vulnerability, the report said.
The United States topped the charts in paying the highest bounties to hackers per year, accounting for 16% of total bounty winnings during the last 12 months. China came second on the list, while India stood third. Indian hackers earned ₹32 crore during the period.
U.S. accounts for 87% of the total number of organizations who conduct these bug bounty programs, with Russia coming next on the list with 2% total contribution. The two topmost paying sectors are the computer software industries and internet service sectors, while the lowest paying sectors are the local governments and healthcare sectors.