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How Do Companies and Governments Find the Best Hackers?

Surprisingly enough, many hackers get solicited for legitimate jobs after they’ve successfully breached a major corporation's security system.

Big name companies like Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft have all hired hackers — after those same individuals got caught hacking someone else! While this practice has become normalized, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the country wants hackers to gain access to their devices to point out poor cybersecurity behaviors. If you want to quickly improve your cyber awareness, be sure to regularly scan your device for security threats. Click here to run a quick Security Scan on your phone:

This recruitment technique might seem like a risky one, but it actually comes with a distinct advantage. For instance, say you hear about a hacker who successfully breached Twitter’s security system, like 17-year-old Michael Mooney did in 2009. That person has shown a more impressive display of his hacking skills than a resume ever could.

Read More: How to Protect Your Twitter Account From Hackers

In Michael Mooney’s case, he created two worms that infected more than 200 Twitter accounts, plus produced another 10,000 spam tweets. What was his punishment for these wrongdoings? Well, Mooney got offered a job at exqSoft Solutions, a web development company. Of course, hacking is still illegal in the United States and this criminal behavior can’t be endorsed. But this discussion does bring us to the topic of ethical hackers and how companies, governments, and other institutions are hiring them for “bug bounties.” Keep reading below to find out more about this increasingly common practice.

Ethical Hackers and Their Bug Bounties

You’ve probably heard of “black hat” hackers before. They’re the hackers who infiltrate security systems and databases for malicious purposes. But what about “white hat” hackers? Also known as “ethical hackers,” white hats are hired by companies and governments, under the request that they attempt a data breach on their security systems.

If the hacker is successful at finding a flaw in their system, they are rewarded with a so-called “bug bounty.” These sums of cash can be pretty lucrative, too, depending on who’s writing the check. Indeed, back in 2015, Apple offered a bug bounty of $1 million to anyone who could infiltrate their mobile operating system. Pretty decent payday, right? In these cases, white hat hackers often work together in small clusters, making them not so different from an office’s IT team.

After all, it’s a common misconception that all hackers have criminal intentions. Many are IT security experts, who relish the challenge of trying to crack into a company’s security system. These days, companies and governments are encouraged to hire ethical hackers, since data breaches can costs them thousands of dollars in losses. So, in the long run, paying an ethical hacker saves them money.