2018: The Year of Hackers & Blockchain Vulnerabilities

2018 might not have been the year for cryptocurrencies but it sure was the year for white hat hackers. According to the technology news website, TheNextWeb, white hat hackers earned rewards up to a whopping $878,000 in bug bounties this year.

If you are wondering what are bug bounties and why are a bunch of hackers getting paid for them, then we got you covered. Bug bounties are actually a kind of competition, in which software-developing companies invite hackers for what can be referred to as a “hack-athon”. Hackers are invited to actually break the company’s software and reveal all of its vulnerabilities, no holds barred.

The purpose of this competition is to uncover any kind of bugs that might be exploited on the launch of the software. This way the company can keep its reputation intact and on the other side, hackers can cash in on their expertise.

According to the report launched on 30th Dec’ 2018, hackers managed to earn $534,500 on HackerOne, which is a bug bounty platform. As weird as it sounds, it connects companies with hackers just from Block.one though. Which is, interestingly enough, the company that stands behind the famous EOS. As matter of fact, Block.one reportedly came out as the company, which was responsible for 60 per cent of all the bounties that were given away in 2018.

Following in on a close second is one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase. As per the report, it was the second largest bounty spender with $290,381 in 2018. Right behind Coinbase, is TRON, the third largest bounty spender of 2018, allegedly spending $76,200 in bounty awards.

The Blockchain Bug Problem

The blockchain technology has been touted as the epitome of heightened security, and while that might be true to some extent, it doesn’t mean that the technology is entirely perfect. Apparently, an approximate of 4 per cent of all the bounties that were awarded on the platform, were related to blockchain vulnerabilities. Furthermore, blockchain companies have received at least 3,000 vulnerability reports in 2018 alone. Owing to the immutability aspects of the blockchain technology, the vulnerabilities on it are much more severe and serious as compared to other centralized technologies.

The average prize in the blockchain industry was $1,490 in 2018, while the average HackerOne bounty in Q4 of 2018 was about $900. You know what they say one man’s mistake is another man’s opportunity. Speaking of opportunity, Augur’s bounty for critical issues is still up for grabs and it’s worth $200,000. So get your hacker hat on and hack away. You can try your hand at it here.

Abeer Anwaar

Abeer holds a Bachelors degree in Media studies and covers blockchain startups for BlockPublisher. An optimist, excels in the art of the written word and swears by the joy of all things sweet. Contact the editor at editor.startups@blockpublisher.com

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