Uber adds a ‘treasure map’, loyalty twist to bug bounty

  • Liam Tung (CSO Online)
  • 23 March, 2016 12:22

Uber has moved its bug bounty program out of private beta and is offering up to $10,000 to researchers who report bugs in its apps and systems.

The ever expanding transport and logistics firm kicked off its bug bounty on Tuesday via the HackerOne bug bounty program, joining other big name tech firms on the platform like Twitter, Yahoo and Adobe.

Uber will pay $10,000 for a critical bug, such as a remote code execution issue on a product server, $5,000 for significant issues, and $3,000 for medium issues.

Bug bounties have become an increasingly popular model to back up internal security efforts by rewarding external security researchers who help weed out insecure code. Google recently raised its maximum payout under its Chrome rewards program to $100,000, having paid out over $2 million last year to researchers and opening a bounty for Android bugs.

But besides cash rewards, Uber has created a number of new incentives to boost engagement, including a loyalty reward program aimed at high performers. Researchers stand to gain bonus cash when they find five issues within a three month “season”.

The first reward program season opens on May 1 and lasts 90 days. Researchers qualify for the program once their confirmed bug count hits four issues.

Hackers are also given a “treasure map” guide that they can use to find different groups of bugs in its systems. The map contains tips on how best to find issues in its public facing services, an explanation of what the service is for and the impact to the business. For example, one service in the program’s scope is, which is where drivers enter their bank details for payment.

“The name of this site alone should excite many bug hunters to hack here. Any web or access control vulnerabilities are very high-risk issues and will receive appropriate payout,” said Uber application security engineer Matthew Bryant.

Additionally, researchers in Uber’s bounty program will be given access to new features at the some time as Uber employees.

“Even with a team of highly-qualified and well trained security experts, you need to be constantly on the look-out for ways to improve,” said Uber CSO Joe Sullivan.

“This bug bounty program will help ensure that our code is as secure as possible. And our unique loyalty scheme will encourage the security community to become experts when it comes to Uber,” he added.

Under the program researchers are being encouraged to hunt for bugs in Uber’s website, iOS and Android rider and partner apps, as well as its developer site, and sites for Uber petitions and driver engagement.

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