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Hackers made $82 Million through Bug Bounties in 2019

Hacking as a profession has now become a viable option for the hackers out there. Yes, you've heard it right, ethical hackers have made more than $82 Million in Bug Bounties held at HackerOne. To top that, the ethical hacking community on HackerOne has now reached over 600,000, with around 850 new hackers joining every day. According to a '2020 Hacker Report' published by HackerOne, a Bug Bounty platform in San Francisco, around 18% of the members are full-time hackers, whose job is to find vulnerabilities and assure that internet becomes a safe place for everyone.

On the HackerOne platform, hackers from across the world, 170 countries to be accurate, which includes India too, are working every day to ensure the cybersecurity of 1700 organizations, which include Zomato and OnePlus also. The US tops the 2109 list in the earnings made by hackers through Bug Bounty with 19%, India comes second with 10%, Russia has 8%, China a 7%, Germany 5%, and at last Canada with 4%. These countries are the top 6 highest earning ones on the list.

According to Luke Tucker, who is the Senior Director of Global Hacker Community, Hackers are a global power working for a good cause to ensure the safety the connected society on the internet. The motivations for hacking may differ, but it is good to see that global organizations are embracing this new change and providing hackers a new platform to compete and grow as a community, making the internet a safe place for everyone, all together. Hackers from various countries earned a lot more than compared to what they did last year.

Hackers from Switzerland and Austria made more than 950% earnings than last year. Similarly, hackers belonging to Singapore, China, and other Asian countries made more than 250% compared to their earnings of 2018. Competitions like these Bug Bounty programs have helped Hackers land into respectful expert knowledge, as 80% of the hackers use this experience to explore a better career or jobs. According to the reports, these hackers spent over 20 hours every week to find vulnerabilities.

Can we control our internet profile?

"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes." So said the artist Banksy, but following the rush to put everything online, from relationship status to holiday destinations, is it really possible to be anonymous - even briefly - in the internet age?

That saying, a twist on Andy Warhol's famous "15 minutes of fame" line, has been interpreted to mean many things by fans and critics alike. But it highlights the real difficulty of keeping anything private in the 21st Century.

"Today, we have more digital devices than ever before and they have more sensors that capture more data about us," says Prof Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger of the Oxford Internet Institute.

And it matters. According to a survey from the recruitment firm Careerbuilder, in the US last year 70% of companies used social media to screen job candidates, and 48% checked the social media activity of current staff.

Also, financial institutions can check social media profiles when deciding whether to hand out loans.

Is it really possible to be anonymous in the internet age?

Meanwhile, companies create models of buying habits, political views and even use artificial intelligence to gauge future habits based on social media profiles.

One way to try to take control is to delete social media accounts, which some did after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when 87 million people had their Facebook data secretly harvested for political advertising purposes.

- Netflix Cambridge Analytica film- Social media is 'like a crime scene'

- Facebook to pay $5bn to settle privacy concerns

- Is leaving Facebook the only way to protect your data? While deleting social media accounts may be the most obvious way to remove personal data, this will not have any impact on data held by other companies.

Fortunately, in some countries the law offers protection.

Data Brokerage A Serious Concern?

With the increasing worth and volume of personal data, Data Brokers have begun to gain a gigantic amount of 'traction' as of late, offering to oversee and monetize consumers' personal data sets. Utilizing a variety of assets to assemble data, the firm gathers consumer data and offers to sell them to other business.

The data gathered is typically sold as profiles which are offered to different business, hoping to target individuals for various ad campaigns.

For some people over the world, data brokerage may be an extremely new term; however, this 'plan of action' has turned out to be one of the most profitable ones in this period — it is a $200 Billion industry.

So as to keep your information from getting sold or utilized by somebody, out of the considerable number of data brokers in the business, 43% of them enable consumers to 'opt-out' for free while others may need to pay a certain amount.

There was a rather shocking incident from India where in 2017, The Economic Times reached out as a purchaser to a data broker, selling personal data, and what they found was quite surprising, for just ₹10,000 and ₹15,000, the company was selling personal data of up to 1 lakh citizens in urban areas like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi.

While there have been many unlawful exercises and approaches by Data Brokers, this business frequently is known to operate following the law. They may get hold of a 'huge amount of data'; in any case, the manner in which they accumulate it doesn't appear to be illegal in any way.

Data Brokerage in the wake of turning into a genuine worry in the on-going long periods of its ascent, it has fallen under cautious examination and governments of numerous countries have already begun watching out for the operations of these companies.

In any case, the internet is something to be careful about as one of the common ways for gathering information is via the internet for the openly accessible information i.e. public data and people there can do things way beyond our imagination.