Bug Bounty is a reward provided by an organisation to any person who reports bugs in their software or websites. The reward for reporting the bug depends upon the extremity of the reported vulnerability. John Abma is doing same by reporting bugs to various companies and is earning whopping amount every month.
25 Year Old Hacker Earned $80,000 in 8 Months as a ‘bug bounty hunter’
John Abma, 25 year of cofounder of a startup known as HackerOne. He has been hacking into computers since he was 13. He was supported by his best friend Michiel Prins who is also the cofounder of HackerOne.
He grew up in Netherlands, Adma offered Prins strange graduation gift, which was username and password to a local TV station that provided a regular news broadcast about the school. These two friends acquired control of the TV station and presented their own broadcast on live TV.
“The TV station was not amused,” Abma tells Business Insider.
Prins was blamed for the hack by teachers, he was a year older than Abma and “he never told them that I was to blame,” says Abma. Prins completed to do 25 hours of community service washing windows, but “that’s what best friends are for” says Abma.
Internet service provider of Abma also noticed that the duo were very good in hacking. The ISP of Abma sent a letter to his parents stating “We think you have a virus installed on your computer because there’s all this weird traffic coming from your systems. My parents were like, ‘We don’t have a virus. We have a son,'” says Abma.
The two friends attended college together at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. They discovered a flaw in the software that handled grades of the students. However, the do didn’t exploited the flaw in the software, instead they informed the software provider about the flaw but they didn’t got any reply from their side, claims Abma.
When the software company failed to give reply to these two friends, they then informed the university authorities about the flaw. The university then contacted the software company and later it was resolved. The university was inspired from the duo, it later hired them to do a bigger vulnerability test on the same software which the university used.
“We made so much money on that contract that we could pay for our college tuition,” he says. “We were going to college and at the same time working for the university.”
Hanze University loved their work and published their research.
Due to this and the potential of the duo, “our parents forced us to start a company,” he said.
However, initially they were not getting good customers and it was a struggle for them. “As you can imagine, no one is going to trust two college kids with their security,” Abma says.
“That was a very exciting time. We were 19 and 20 years old. And we were making roughly $10,000 a week just the two of us,” he says. “For two college kids, that was a very large amount of money.”
They duo then headed to San Francisco and co-founded HackerOne with Alexa Rice, who is a former head of product security at Facebook.
HackerOne is a website where companies can request hackers to carry attacks on their software products or websites, then pay the fees depending upon the severity of the vulnerability. The aim of the company is to find vulnerabilities in any website and fix them before bad hackers exploit them.
HackerOne has helped various companies to find 21,000 authentic vulnerabilities since the startup was founded in 2012 and it was paid over $7 million that time.
The startup is currently having 500 customers and employs about 50 people, it has also raised $34 million in funding.