This Popular Porn Site Debuted a Bug Bounty Program on the Same Platform as the Pentagon

May 10, 2016, 3:02 PM UTC
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Portrait of a man sitting in a darkened room with a desktop PC and laptop, photographed for a feature on internet security and hacking, taken on May 10, 2012. (Photo by Gavin Roberts/PC Format Magazine via Getty Images)
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Pornhub, one of the world’s most popular pornography sites, unveiled a bug bounty program on Tuesday.

The company, owned by Canadian private firm MindGeek, will pay white hat hackers for finding computer bugs on its site and reporting those vulnerabilities to its owners. The site is running the program through the startup HackerOne, a bug bounty software startup that spun out of Facebook (FB) and that operates similar programs for companies such as General Motors (GM), Uber, Twitter (TWTR), Yahoo (YHOO), Dropbox—and even the United States Department of Defense.

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“Like other major tech players have been doing as of late, we’re tapping some of the most talented security researchers as a proactive and precautionary measure—in addition to our dedicated developer and security teams—to ensure not only the security of our site but that of our users, which is paramount to us,” said Corey Price, Pornhub’s vice president, in a statement. The site first ran a private, invite-only beta program to test the concept, which led to about two dozen security fixes, the company said.

The bounties range between $50 and $25,000. In order for hackers to claim the site’s rewards, they must be the first to report a given vulnerability, describe what it is and how it works, include screenshots and a bit of code to substantiate their claims, and disclose the finding with Pornhub—and Pornhub alone, the company specified.

The site’s security team may take up to a month to respond and up to three months to fix a given issue. You can learn more about the rules and qualifications on Pornhub’s HackerOne profile page.

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Such vulnerability reporting and reward programs are gaining momentum in the tech world, allowing security teams to supplement their internal capabilities with outside help.

HackerOne, which competes with bug bounty startups like Bugcrowd and Synack, also runs programs for Square (SQ), Adobe (ADBE), Slack, Snapchat, and Zendesk (ZEN), among others. Tech giants like Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) have sponsored bug bounty programs of their own for several years. Apple (AAPL) and Oracle (ORCL), notably, have not.

Pornhub has 60 million daily visitors, making it the second most popular adult entertainment site in the world, as last ranked by the Amazon-owned (AMZN) Internet analytics firm Alexa. The site has been targeted by hackers before, including a malicious advertising scheme in the fall of last year.

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