In this article you will explore everything about bug bounty like what is bug bounty, how to start bug bounty for beginners, steps to become a bug bounty hunter, skills and tools required and much more.

Data breaches and cyberattacks are more common than ever in this digital era, when hackers are always keep on finding new ways to exploit bugs in software and websites.

As a result, companies and organizations are under immense pressure to secure their systems and protect their user’s data. Bug bounty hunting is one strategy that has gained popularity recently since it encourages ethical hackers to discover and report security problems.

Introduction to Bug Bounty Programs

Bug bounty programs are initiatives that companies and organizations launch to reward ethical hackers for identifying and reporting security vulnerabilities in their software, websites, or apps.

Bug bounty programs can help companies to save money. They also help to build trust with customers by demonstrating a commitment to security and transparency.

Rewards for participating in bug bounty programs can vary widely, from cash payouts to swag like t-shirts or stickers.

Advantages for Businesses and Researchers from Bug Bounty Programs

Day by day the number of companies using bug bounty program are increasing as a way to find and fix vulnerabilities in their software and systems. These program reward researchers who find and report security issues, encouraging them to collaborate with companies to find issues and fix them before they may be used by malicious actors.

For companies, bug bounty programs can result in significant cost savings by identifying vulnerabilities before they can be exploited, avoiding costly breaches and potential legal liabilities. Additionally, bug bounty programs can improve a company’s reputation and trustworthiness among consumers and partners, demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity.

For researchers, bug bounty programs offer an opportunity to earn money for their work and showcase their skills to potential employers. Many companies also offer recognition and public acknowledgment for researchers who identify significant vulnerabilities, further increasing their visibility in the cybersecurity community.

Overall, bug bounty programs provide a win-win situation for both companies and researchers, promoting a more secure and trustworthy digital landscape.

Steps to Become a Bug Bounty Hunter

Becoming a bug bounty hunter can be a exciting and rewarding career path for people with a strong interest in cybersecurity and has a passion for finding bugs. Here are some steps to get started in bug bounty hunting:

Learn the Basics of Cybersecurity

Having a solid foundation in cybersecurity is essential before starting a bug bounty program. You must get familiar with concepts like operating system security, network security, and web application security. Start with online courses, tutorials, and books on cybersecurity to learn the basics.

I will like to recommend you some course like Introduction to Cybersecurity by Cisco,
Computer Security and Networks by Georgia Tech and Web Application Security Fundamentals by OWASP.

Gain Experience

Participate in cybersecurity competitions and challenges to gain experience and improve your skills. Look for online challenges on platforms like HackerRank, CTFTime, and Root-Me. You can also practice on bug bounty platforms like HackerOne, Bugcrowd, and Synack. These platforms offer a safe environment for you to practice your skills and hone your techniques.

FURTHER READING: Complete CTF guide for beginners

Familiarize yourself with Bug Bounty Platforms

Research and explore different bug bounty platforms to find the ones that suit your skills and interests. Look at the types of programs they offer, the rewards they provide, and the companies that participate in them. HackerOne, Bugcrowd, and Synack are some of the most popular bug bounty platforms. You can sign up for these platforms to receive notifications about new bug bounty programs.

Research Companies

Find companies that have active bug bounty programs and learn about their products and services. Start with companies that you are familiar with and use their products or services. Familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures for reporting vulnerabilities. You can also search for bug bounty programs on bug bounty aggregator websites like BountyFactory, Intigriti, and YesWeHack.

Stay Up To Date

To stay on top of the game, keep up with the most recent cybersecurity news, trends, and technologies. Attend conferences, meetups, and workshops to learn about the most recent cybersecurity methods and innovations. To network with other bug bounty hunters and exchange knowledge, join online communities like Reddit, StackOverflow, and Discord.

Develop a Portfolio

Provide a portfolio of your work that includes the vulnerabilities you’ve found, the reports you’ve sent in, and any recognition or awards you’ve won. Your portfolio might make you stand out from other bug bounty hunters by serving as your proof of skill.

Be Persistent

Success in bug bounty hunting requires persistence and dedication. Keep trying and stay motivated, and you will eventually find success in this exciting and rewarding field. Don’t get demotivated by rejections, but instead of this learn from them and use them to improve your skills.

FURTHER READING: RoadMap to become bug bounty hunter

Understanding the scope of a bug bounty program

The scope of a bug bounty program defines the targets, assets, and vulnerabilities that the company is interested in receiving reports about from security researchers. A clear and well-defined scope is essential for a bug bounty program to be effective and efficient.

The scope of a bug bounty program typically includes:

Assets: The digital assets that are included in the program. This could include web applications, mobile applications, APIs, network infrastructure, and IoT devices.

Vulnerabilities: The types of vulnerabilities that the company is interested in receiving reports about.

Rules of engagement: The rules of engagement that researchers must follow when participating in the bug bounty program. This could include guidelines on what testing methods are allowed, what types of vulnerabilities are out of scope, and how to submit a report.

Rewards: The rewards that the company is willing to offer for valid reports. This could include monetary rewards, recognition, or other incentives.

It’s crucial to understand that a bug bounty program’s parameters are flexible and subject to change at any time. The company may decide to add or remove assets, expand or narrow the types of vulnerabilities they are interested in, or change the rules of engagement or rewards. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the program’s scope and guidelines to ensure that your reports are eligible for rewards.

Before participating in a bug bounty program, it’s essential to carefully review the program’s scope and guidelines to make sure that your testing falls within the scope of the program. This will help you avoid wasting time on targets that are out of scope and increase your chances of finding valid vulnerabilities that are eligible for rewards.

Essential Skills for Bug Bounty Hunting

Knowledge of Web Technologies

A strong understanding of web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is essential for finding vulnerabilities in web applications.

Familiarity with Programming Languages

Knowing how to code in languages such as Python, PHP, and JavaScript will help you automate tasks and write scripts for testing.

Network Analysis

Understanding how networks work and how to analyze network traffic is essential for finding vulnerabilities in network infrastructure.

Attention to Detail

A keen eye for detail and the ability to identify subtle changes or anomalies in code or behavior can help you find vulnerabilities that others might miss.

Persistence and Patience

Bug bounty hunting requires a lot of persistence and patience, as finding vulnerabilities can often be a time-consuming and frustrating process.

FURTHER READING: Important tips to find bugs

Essential Tools for Bug Bounty Hunting

Burp Suite

A web application testing tool that helps you identify and exploit vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and session hijacking.


A network exploration and port scanning tool that helps you identify open ports and services running on a network.


A tool for penetration testing that helps in finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in various applications and systems.


A web application security scanner that enables you to find flaws like path traversal, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting.


A search engine for locating internet-connected devices that can be vulnerable, such as cameras, routers, and servers.


A web debugging proxy that allows you to intercept, inspect, and modify web traffic to help identify vulnerabilities.


A version control system that enables you to communicate with other academics and track changes to your code.

You should also be comfortable utilising command-line tools, virtual machines, and cloud services like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform in addition to these technologies.

Common Vulnerabilities to look for in Bug Bounty Programs

Bug bounty programs are designed to identify security vulnerabilities in digital systems and applications. The most typical vulnerabilities that bug bounty hunters search for are listed below:

Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

A kind of vulnerability that allows an attacker to place malicious code into a web page.

SQL Injection

A kind of vulnerability that allows an attacker to run SQL commands on a database.

Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

A kind of vulnerability that allows an attacker to trick a user into performing any malicious action on a website, like changing their password and transfering money.

Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

A kind of vulnerability that allows an attacker to send requests to a server from within a target application, potentially accessing internal resources or attacking other systems.

Authentication and Authorization Issues

Vulnerabilities in user authentication and authorization, including insufficient access controls, weak passwords, and unsecure credential storage.

Remote Code Execution (RCE)

Vulnerability type that enables a server to run code remotely, potentially giving the attacker control of the system.

Information Disclosure

Vulnerabilities that make it possible for an attacker to gain sensitive data or user credentials.

Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR)

A type of vulnerability that allows an attacker to access and manipulate data that they should not have access to.

Business Logic Vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities that are particular to the application’s business logic, like fraud, misuse, or revenue loss.

It’s crucial to remember that a bug bounty program’s interest in particular vulnerabilities will depend on the company and the assets under test. To make sure that your testing is within the parameters of the programme and that you are concentrating on the most relevant vulnerabilities, it is crucial for bug bounty hunters to carefully analyse the program’s requirements and scope.

Reporting and Communication best practices

Reporting and communication are essential parts of any bug bounty program. Here are some best practices for reporting and communication in bug bounty programs:

Follow the Program’s Guidelines

Each bug bounty program will have unique requirements for what information should be included in reports, how reports should be submitted, and how to get in touch with the team running the program. To guarantee that your report is approved and that you have a positive experience with the program, strictly adhere to these instructions.

Be Clear and Concise

Be clear and concise when describing the vulnerability in your report, including how to reproduce the problem, screenshots, and any other relevant information. Make sure your report is simple to understand and stay away from technical jargon and convoluted terminology.

Provide Evidence

Providing evidence of the vulnerability, such as screenshots, logs, or code snippets, can help the program’s team verify the issue and prioritize its severity.

Be Professional and Courteous

Maintain a professional and courteous tone when communicating with the program’s team, even if you disagree with their assessment of the vulnerability or their handling of the issue.

Respect the Program’s Rules

Make sure you respect the program’s rules and guidelines, including any restrictions on disclosure or publicizing of vulnerabilities. Avoid sharing information about the vulnerability or your interactions with the program’s team without their permission.

Follow Up

Follow up with the programme team politely and respectfully if you don’t hear back from them or if you think your concern isn’t being properly addressed.

By adhering to these best practises, you can make sure that your reports are well-received, that you like using the program, and that the vulnerabilities you find are quickly and successfully fixed.

Bug bounty hunting can be a rewarding and lucrative career, but it is important to be aware of the legal and ethical considerations involved. Here are some key considerations:

Bug bounty hunters should ensure that they are not breaking any laws or violating any terms of service agreements while testing systems. This includes obtaining permission from the system owner to conduct testing and not engaging in any illegal activities, such as stealing data or disrupting services.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Many bug bounty programs require hunters to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to protect the confidentiality of the program and its participants. Be sure to read and understand the terms of any NDA you sign.

Responsible Disclosure

When a vulnerability is found, the system owner should be reported responsibly. This means giving the owner enough details to enable them to replicate and validate the vulnerability without risk, as well as allowing them enough time to fix it before releasing it to the public.

No Harm Policy

Bug bounty hunters should refrain from any actions that would endanger the system, the users of the system, or the business that controls the system. Avoiding denial-of-service attacks, data theft, and other malicious activities falls under this category.


Bug bounty hunting is a professional activity, and hunters should act professionally and respectfully at all times. This includes maintaining clear communication with the system owner, adhering to program rules and guidelines, and avoiding any behavior that could damage the reputation of the bug bounty community.

By adhering to these legal and ethical considerations, bug bounty hunters can help ensure that their activities are legal, responsible, and beneficial for all parties involved.

Finding and Joining Bug Bounty Programs

If you are interested in bug bounty hunting, there are several ways to find and join bug bounty programs. Here are some tips:

Research: Start by researching companies or organizations that offer bug bounty programs. Look for companies that offer incentives for finding vulnerabilities, such as cash rewards or recognition.

Bug bounty directories: There are several bug bounty directories that list active bug bounty programs. Examples include HackerOne, Bugcrowd, and Synack. These directories are a good way to discover new programs and learn about their requirements.

Social media: Follow bug bounty platforms and security researchers on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on new programs and opportunities.

White hat hacking communities: Joining white hat hacking communities, such as forums or slack groups, can help you connect with other bug bounty hunters and discover new programs.

Contact companies directly: If you have a specific company in mind, you can reach out to them directly to inquire about their bug bounty program.

Attend conferences: Attending security conferences such as DEFCON and Black Hat can provide opportunities to network with other bug bounty hunters and learn about new programs.

Once you have identified bug bounty programs that interest you, be sure to carefully review the program requirements and guidelines before submitting any reports. Following the program’s rules and guidelines is essential for ensuring that your reports are well-received and that you have a positive experience with the program.

Tips and Tricks for Succeeding in Bug Bounty Hunting

Bug bounty hunting can be a challenging and competitive field, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you succeed:

Focus on the Basics

Start by building a strong foundation in basic security concepts, such as web application vulnerabilities, network security, and cryptography. This will help you identify vulnerabilities more effectively and efficiently.

Learn from Others

Follow security researchers and bug bounty hunters on social media and security forums to learn from their experiences and insights. This can help you stay up-to-date on new techniques and vulnerabilities.

FURTHER READING: Important tips to find bugs

Practice, Practice and Practice

The more you practice finding vulnerabilities, the better you will become. Set up a lab environment or use public bug bounty programs to practice your skills and refine your techniques.

Collaborate with Others

Participating in bug bounty programs with a team can help you learn from others and identify vulnerabilities more quickly. Consider joining a bug bounty team or participating in bug bounty events to collaborate with others.

Think Outside The Box

Don’t limit yourself to traditional attack vectors. Sometimes the most effective vulnerabilities are found through creative thinking and exploring unconventional attack vectors.

Build Relationships with Program Owners

Developing a good relationship with program owners can help you stand out from other bug bounty hunters and lead to more opportunities. Be respectful, professional, and communicative in your interactions with program owners.

Keeping up with industry trends and news can help you stay ahead of the curve and identify emerging vulnerabilities. Follow industry blogs, podcasts, and news sources to stay informed.

By following these tips and tricks, you can improve your chances of succeeding in bug bounty hunting and finding lucrative vulnerabilities.

Conclusion: Bug Bounty for Beginners

Starting a bug bounty program as a beginner requires a strong understanding of web application security, choosing the right bug bounty platform, finding relevant programs to participate in, understanding program rules and guidelines, utilizing tools and resources, documenting findings, submitting reports, waiting for a response, and repeating the process.

With persistence, patience, and continuous learning, bug bounty hunting can provide a great opportunity to learn about web application security while earning rewards for your efforts.


Bug bounties are here to stay and will become more common as organizations increasingly see the value in using them to identify and fix security vulnerabilities.

Yes, bug bounty programs are still worth it for both ethical hackers and companies.

Bug bounty can be challenging, but it’s not necessarily very hard for skilled and experienced hackers.

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