Feeds

How much is a security bug report worth to Facebook? About $2,100

Team Zuck paid out $1.5m for 687 reports of vulnerabilities

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Facebook wasn't the first to offer security researchers bounties for reporting vulnerabilities – but the social network reports it paid out $1.5m in 2013 for bug reports, and says it is increasing the amount of cash on offer in the coming year.

According to the advertising giant, it received 14,763 reports of suspected flaws last year, an increase of 246 per cent on the 2012 figure. Unfortunately for Facebook's security team there were a lot of false positives in there, and only 687 write-ups turned out to be worth paying for – and, thankfully, roughly six per cent were classified as high-severity issues.

"Most submissions end up not being valid issues, but we assume they are until we've fully evaluated the report. That attitude makes it possible for us to triage high-priority issues quickly and get the right resources allocated immediately," said Collin Greene, a security engineer at Facebook.

"We've managed to take the median fix time for high-severity issues down to just 6 hours, and we're going to continue focusing on efficiency as the program grows. We also use static analysis and other automated tools where applicable to help prevent engineers from repeating mistakes later."

Most of the valid bug reports were filed from India, but they appeared to be of low value – Facebook got 136 flaws from the subcontinent and paid out an average of $1,353 for each. Russians earned the most last year, with 38 submissions earning $3,961 on average.

As for the home-grown talent, US researchers found 92 correct flaws, with an average payday of $2,272 each, while the British contingent sent in 40 valid bugs each worth $2,950 on average. Facebook's highest payout went to Brazilian researcher Reginaldo Silva, who earned $33,500 for finding an XML external entity vulnerability within a PHP page.

It's not just straightforward flaws Facebook is paying for. One researcher found a bad piece of user interface design in its Page administrator tool that could have allowed people to accidentally assign new administrators to a Page instead of blocking them.

Facebook is amending its bounty rules for next year; boosting some payouts and adding Instagram, Parse, Atlas, and Onavo to the program. But it's also removing text-injection flaws from the payout list, arguing that rendering extra text on a page isn't a security issue on its own. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.