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Becoming a White Hat Hacker & Getting Rewarded by Tech Companies

Updated on June 28, 2022

When you rely on services like Google or Facebook you expect to enjoy a high level of security. Big companies put all their efforts in order to guarantee the safest experience possible for their users but, as you can guess, nothing is 100% secure. Also the most famous services we use everyday have suffered from security leaks and vulnerabilities in the past. There are hackers who have violated these services for malicious purposes and who have been in trouble with justice for this reason. Anyway there are also hackers who have tried to exploit security vulnerabilities inside Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Microsoft web servers without getting in legal troubles. This article will focus on these people and on how they are allowed to exploit web vulnerabilities without risking a sentence from a court.

Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft & Apple put their maximum effort in order to guarantee a safe experience to their users, anyway nothing can be 100% safe in the world.
Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft & Apple put their maximum effort in order to guarantee a safe experience to their users, anyway nothing can be 100% safe in the world.

My Personal Experience as a White Hat Hacker

In my life I had the opportunity to violate servers and products realized by companies like Google and Apple. These violations, when exploited, could lead to various consequences. None of them were highly serious and my violations could be classified as moderately risky for the correct execution of services by these companies, anyway they were still something notable. When a user violates web services by exploiting vulnerabilities, they generally get in trouble with justice: at the end, they are doing something illegal and which is punished in several countries in the world. This never happened to me and to hundreds of other people, who have violated the most famous web services without facing issues with justice. How could it be possible?

White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers

When distinguishing between someone who violates a web service in order to harvest personal data or steal money from their users and someone who does this in order to help the company getting the vulnerability fixed, it is important to acknowledge the difference between black hat and white hat hackers. The first ones are criminals and they basically violate web services in order to pursue something which is illegal. The latter do it in order to report their discoveries to the companies so that they get the vulnerability fixed as soon as possible. White hat hackers are immune from any legal consequence and they are also awarded with money and honorary prizes. During my experience as a white hat hacker, I have received various kinds of prizes from many IT companies in the world, after having reported them some vulnerabilities found inside their web services. These prizes involved money bounties and mentions in specific pages.

Violating web services in order to help the companies to fix security vulnerabilities is something allowed and rewarded. Doing it for illegal purposes is what it causes you to face legal issues.
Violating web services in order to help the companies to fix security vulnerabilities is something allowed and rewarded. Doing it for illegal purposes is what it causes you to face legal issues.

The General Behaviour of a White Hat Hacker

A white hat hacker generally has to abide to specific agreements with the company who manages web services he is trying to violate. In general, in order to benefit of the white hat immunity against legal actions and in order to be eligible for bounties and awards, a hacker must abide to the following rules:

  • non-disclosure agreement: all the discoveries must be kept secret and they should be shared only with the security team of the web service the hacker has violated. Only after the vulnerabilities get fixed he can share his discoveries with other people. There is an evident reason for this rule: if the hacker discloses unfixed vulnerabilities to other people, they can exploit these.
  • when trying to exploit a vulnerability the hacker has to put the maximum effort in avoiding damages to user data or service down times. He has to limit attacks to the minimum required to discovery the vulnerability, without going further.
  • when discovering a vulnerability he should directly report it without trying to get a personal and unfair benefit from it. If he steals personal data or does something else illegal he is still considered a black hat hacker even if he reports the vulnerability after having exploited it.


Hackers are often associated to criminals who exploit vulnerabilities in order to steal money or leak data from sensitive systems. The reality is that there are two kinds of hackers and, despite there is a category of malicious people seeking for gaining an unfair advantage by violating online services, there are other ones that are doing it in order to help people and security teams of IT companies stay safe against the first category. Even the most powerful companies in the world are run by humans: nobody is perfect and white hat hackers, with their activity, are providing an additional help to make online services safe every day.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2019 Alessio Ganci


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