Outsmarting Facebook Will Earn You Money

facebook bugsFacebook has lots of brilliant people working for them, but that's not good enough. They also need talented, untapped resources, AKA ... you! Or me! Or anyone with an Internet connection, basically. Over the last three weeks, Zuck & Co.'s "bug bounty" initiative has paid more than $40,000 to people who find Facebook security vulnerabilities. In other words, whether you're a pro-hacker or just a "hacker hobbyist" (which I take to mean anyone who is remotely interested in breaching Internet security), if you can hack into Facebook and report the details to the social network, you'll get a finder's fee of at least $500.

Pretty sweet deal, huh?

One person even got $5K for their report, and one person has already received more than $7,000 for six different issues flagged! Whoa! Geeze, even $500 would be some nice extra cash to have in your pocket for digging around on a site you probably spend a decent chunk of time on anyway.


Sure, on some level it's like Zuckerberg wants to take advantage of the smartest hackers out there without having to actually hire them. That is sort of annoying, but meh. The extra cash and the public acknowledgment from Facebook alone is probably enough for most of us.

Kinda reminds me of back in college when one of my journo profs made us all look for mistakes (typos, grammatical errors, factual problems, etc.) in the major newspapers every week and bring them in. I honestly wasn't such a big fan of that assignment. It seemed so tedious. But if I was getting PAID to find the boo-boos, you bet I would have been all about it.

Yeah, money changes everything. And Facebook knows it. That's why they're pretty wise to present this challenge to the masses. They also deserve credit for turning a taboo situation into a rewarding one. Usually someone who seems like a "hacker," even if they're well-intentioned, can get in major trouble if they tell a huge site like Facebook about their intrusion. But by making it more than okay with this "bug bounty," and vowing to work with instead of punish well-intentioned "white hat" hackers, it's a win-win for anyone with security researching skills and for Facebook.

Gotta hand it to them -- sometimes those Facebook folks are such smartypants!

Would you try looking for security vulnerabilities on Facebook for some extra cash?


Image via Mark Rain/Flickr

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