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

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.