Teach Yourself To Hack: How This Self-Taught Hacking Team Saved Businesses $27 Billion

It’s often assumed that the presence of hackers in and around your systems is always a bad thing. Widely held, but incorrect. The existence of cybercriminals is undesirable, and while cybercrime frequently involves hacking, this is far from the entire picture. Hackers are not always crooks, and hacking may save your company money. Lots of money. Furthermore, some of the most successful and lawful hackers are self-taught.

So, how can you learn to hack and become a part of a $27 billion risk-reduction industry?

Hacking is not a crime, but it may be a rewarding career

I’m a big supporter of the anti-hacking awareness campaign Hacking is NOT a Crime. Putting all hackers in the same category as criminals generates unneeded uncertainty for your business and may hurt its bottom line. If hackers did not exist, the world would be a far less safe place.

Hackers utilize Bugcrowd which is a crowdsourcing bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure platform. Hackers are reimbursed financially for discovering security holes in goods and services, depending on the severity of the vulnerability revealed.

These hackers are mostly self-taught, according to the newest Bugcrowd annual research, Inside the Mind of a Hacker, and they saved organizations $27 billion between May 2020 and August 2021.

The Bugcrowd report’s most crucial takeaway is several $27 billion, which reflects the value of the crimes prevented by hackers working on the platform during the preceding 16 months. Naturally, I was curious as to how Bugcrowd arrived at the $27 billion risk-reduction number.

“We computed the amount of valid priority one (P1) findings made on the platform multiplied by IBM’s average cost of a breach in 2021,” a Bugcrowd spokesman explained. This is the outcome of a thorough examination of millions of secret data points on vulnerabilities from 2,961 distinct programs. The annual report delves into survey data and security research on the Bugcrowd platform, as well as providing readers with an inside look at what it takes to be a hacker.

Inside a hacker’s mind

This 34-page study is both understandable and educational, and I’d suggest it as a must-read for anybody considering a career as a hacker. Some of the main findings include the fact that the bulk of Bugcrowd platform hackers (54 percent) are Generation Z, 34 percent are Millennials, and only 2 percent are above the age of 45. Furthermore, the majority of hackers on the network are from India. 79 percent speak at least two languages, and 21 percent identify as neurodivergent. Unfortunately, 96 percent are male, with only 3 percent female and the remaining 1 percent identifying as non-binary, gender fluid, or pan-gender. This has got to change, as Bugcrowd acknowledges.

Learn how to hack.

One of the most encouraging facts I came across was that 79 percent of hackers taught themselves how to hack. Although there are many courses available for people who wish to take the traditional road to become an information security expert. As well as many certifications to pursue, hacking may be a lot more self-contained learning experience.

When it comes to educating oneself to hack, there are many elements to consider; nonetheless, I asked hackers who are currently doing it, as well as information security specialists, for recommendations on appropriate instructional materials to get would-be hackers started on their career path. Please note that this is not an entire list; but, if you’re thinking about becoming a bug bounty hacker, it should provide some food for thought.

  • Bugcrowd University is a fantastic place to start learning about online hacking, with a strong selection of learning resources.
  • Try Hack Me makes learning to hack fun by using real-world circumstances.
  • Hack The Box Academy is a browser-based, interactive program for people of all ability levels.
  • PortSwigger’s Web Security Academy is free and created by the same people who created the penetration testing program Burp Suite.
  • Pentester Lab contains tasks ranging from fundamental bug-finding to tracing down complex vulnerabilities.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of Google and YouTube for finding answers to your queries. Also for obtaining hands-on hacking assistance. Searching through security conference speeches that have been made available online, Infosecurity Twitter and Google are your friends here. They are for well-explained proof of concept (POC) exploits that may also help you get your brain around the practicalities. If you’ve gone far enough on your learning trip.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should not attempt to hack real targets outside of those within a recognized educational resource. Or you may soon discover that you’ve passed the boundary between being a hacker and a criminal.

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