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Science
23 Apr 2017

Twitter hacking for a living, legally

Twitter pays hacker for finding its flaws

If you think hacking could only put someone in jail then you may have misjudged the potentials of a hacker.

If you know the right doors to knock, not only it can be legal but can also make you quite rich.

Let's explore the whole new world of legal and paid hacking and one man, who is raking the moolah doing so with élan.

In context

Twitter pays hacker for finding its flaws
Jake Davis, the man Twitter pays to get hacked

Tweet

Jake Davis, the man Twitter pays to get hacked

Jake Davis, dubbed online as Topiray, is a hacker, who gets paid by giant companies such as Twitter, to hack their own websites.

It's called ethical hacking, where companies pay and allow the hackers to get into the site to discover bugs and flaws and then firms fix them.

"Twitter has paid me for disclosing bugs to them. It's very simple," says Davis.

Hackers

Why do the hackers do it?

Hackers generally breach data in order to earn respect in hacking community. In the ethical hacking process, "they get the kudos, they get recognized by the company - they even get points on a leader board sometimes".

If they practise legit hacking, they earn by doing what they do best - hack - and it also prevents them from "doing something malicious," explains Davis.

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How much do companies pay for "ethical hacking"?

Ethical hacking

How much do companies pay for "ethical hacking"?

Companies pay in crypto-currencies, in case, the hacker wants to stay anonymous.

According to Davis's estimates, Facebook pays minimum £500 for disclosing its flaws, while Twitter offers £110 minimum.

In a 24 hours span, "there would probably have been between £78,000 and £156,000 paid out to freelance hackers" in the whole industry.

Consultant

Your friendly neighbourhood "Hacker"-man

Jack Davis used to work with hacker groups like LulzSec and Anonymous as Topiary.

"We were most known for hacking the homepage of the Sun newspaper and planting satirical fake stories on their website," he says.

Following his arrest in 2011 for illegal hacking, Jake now works as a cyber-security expert and hacking consultant for film and TV.

It's a love/hate story

Hacking

It's a love/hate story

In 2016 following the Russian doping controversy before the Olympics, medical files of many athletes were revealed in a data breach called the Walda Hack; Russian organized groups were accused for it.

Around four million US government employees' fingerprint data were stolen in 2015 and the country blamed China for the data breach.

History of hacking

Awards for the biggest hacks go to..

In 2000, a 15-year-old hacker named "Mafia Boy" breached the likes of eBay, Amazon, Dell and others.

One of the biggest data breaches in history was that of Yahoo, which occurred in 2014 and stole personal information of about 500 million users.

In 2002, Gary McKinnon hacked dozens of US military computer systems and 16 NASA computers to search for evidence of a UFO-cover-up.

Indian techie rewarded for finding bug on Facebook

India

Indian techie rewarded for finding bug on Facebook

Last year a Bangalore-based techie Anand Prakash found a bug in Facebook and received around Rs. 10 lakh for reporting it.

Reportedly the bug, if exploited by hackers, could give away sensitive information about Facebook users, such as messages, photos and even debit/credit card details.

Others that have paid Anand for finding flaws include Google, Twitter, Adobe, Red Hat, SoundCloud, Nokia, PayPal and others.

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