Bugcrowd, the crowdsourced cybersecurity platform, has published its Inside the Mind of a Hacker ’21 report, which it says provides CIOs and CISOs valuable insight on ethical hackers and the economics of security research. Some new findings indicate a shift in the threat landscape with 8 out of 10 ethical hackers recently having identified a vulnerability they had never seen before.
The annual study offers an in-depth look at ethical hackers to reveal how they reduce risk, which industries leverage their expertise and what organisations are doing to attract high-performing security researchers. It also indicates the growing geographic disparity in crowdsourced cybersecurity investment, with continental Europe allocating 79% less budget to ethical hacking than North America.
The report analysed survey responses and security research conducted on the Bugcrowd Platform from May 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021, in addition to millions of proprietary data points collected on vulnerabilities from 2,961 security programmes.
Some main findings include:
- 91 percent of ethical hackers said that point-in-time testing cannot secure companies year-round
- 80 percent of ethical hackers found a vulnerability they had not encountered before the pandemic
- 74 percent of ethical hackers agree vulnerabilities have increased since the onset of COVID-19
- 71 percent of ethical hackers report they earn more now that most companies work remotely
- 45 percent of ethical hackers believe lack of scope inhibits the discovery of critical vulnerabilities
It also claims that 27 billion dollars worth of cybercrime was prevented by ethical hackers on the Bugcrowd Platform.
The company noted in its press release that “cybercrime now represents more than one percent of global GDP, costing organizations an estimated $1 trillion in losses in 2021. Ethical hackers are challenging the powerful forces behind these attacks, enabling companies to continuously secure their digital assets and software development lifecycle (SDLC) with greater efficiencies than traditional approaches.”
One ethical hacker who goes by the name th3g3nt3lman, said: “The work I do is good for all people—not just for me. It is about making an impact. I like that I’m securing online services used all around the world and helping people to trust their technology without being scared.”
Bugcrown also assessed that ethical hackers are multigenerational and younger than ever. Faced with the worst job market since the Great Depression and disproportionate job loss throughout the pandemic, 54% of Gen Z (born 1997–2012) report using their skills as digital natives to kick-start ethical hacking careers.
Ashish Gupta, CEO and President, Bugcrowd, concluded: “With this report, we are proud to shine a light on the top ethical hackers that CrowdMatch—Bugcrowd’s proprietary recommendation engine—automatically curates for customer programmes based on skills, environment, and use cases.”