How To Become A Bug Bounty Hunter?

How To Become A Bug Bounty Hunter?

Are you planning to start a career as a bug bounty hunter? We’ve gathered the handiest materials to create for you the ultimate guide of tools, websites, and other resources on how to hack and effectively join a new bug bounty program. If you are confused about where to start, this brief guide has everything you need — a collection of eBooks, a bug bounty program training, and sites for novices. Further, we will discuss some essential skills and training and how things work currently in the real world.

Bug Bounty Hunters Explained

Primarily, these are specialists who know the fundamentals of cybersecurity and are experienced in finding weaknesses and flaws. Various bug bounty-focused platforms hire them and pay for detecting security vulnerabilities in apps and software. Such programs allow attackers to find and fix bugs before the public is informed about them to prevent cases of widespread abuse. 

Becoming Bug Bounty Hunters

Before looking for security bugs in any platform, you should figure out how web applications work. Moreover, a solid understanding of basic network principles and web components, including PHP, HTML, SQL database, CSS, and JavaScript, will boost the opportunity of analyzing some weaknesses. Besides, if you have some basic knowledge in python, it will be an extra value to create your tools handy in achieving a particular goal.

Skills Required

The key areas to work on comprising OWASP Top 10. Let’s see them:

  • SQL Injection
  • Info Disclosure
  • SSRF -Server Side Request Forgery
  • Remote & Local file inclusion
  • RCE – Remote Code execution
  • Information gathering
  • XSS – Cross-Site Scripting

After familiarizing these vulnerabilities, you may now read other reports and POCs on the prevalent bug bounty platforms to find common testing strategies. 

Steps to Becoming an Ethical Hacker

Studying is a long way that you have to go alone, using the help of other people. Below are the things you should know before dealing with information security.

When asking someone a technical question, do it with all responsibility. You have to ask substantive questions. To find answers to all your questions, use Google. 

  1. Basic technical skills for a beginner 

Assume you have a basic understanding of how everything on the internet works. You need to learn many things, but we listed just a few important topics, and you will find out the rest yourself.

  • HTTP Protocol – TCP/IP Model
  • Linux – Command Line
  • Web Application Technologies
  • Basic networking skills 

Acquiring basic JavaScript, HTML, and PHP skills is just the beginning. Then, you form an interest based on your needs. It is also vital to get an idea of the different types of vulnerabilities. 

  1. Selecting a Path 

Picking the right path in this field depends entirely on your interests. For instance, many users decide to start with web applications. 

  • Testing mobile applications security issues
  • Testing web applications security issues

 Do not limit yourself to these two points, as this is a matter of interest. Here are the basics of Web Application Security:

  • 2017: OWASP TOP-10
  • 2013: OWASP TOP-10
  • 2010: OWASP TOP-10

Start with 2010 to see which vulnerabilities were in the top that year, and follow what happened in 2017. 

Once you gain more experience, you can switch freely between the spheres you like best. 

Bug Bounty Training Programs 

Before proceeding to the practical approach, every user needs to know the key information security concepts. The most effective learning techniques include tutorials on some free YouTube channels. In addition, you can register for any web application security teaching provided by CyberTalents, or other widely held courses such as SANS or e-learn security. 

  • Bug Hunter Toolkit 

In a nutshell, there are no standard tools for a web security-based researcher or a bug hunter. Nevertheless, you need to be familiar with some area’s common constituents like:

  • Web browser 

You can use your chosen version of a web browser, Firefox or Google Chrome, and you may weaponize it with some add-ons to make your testing activities easier.

  • Virtual machine 

Incorporating up-to-the-minute virtual machines is handy for two reasons. First, with it, you can isolate your testing tools from your system’s original OS. Second, to practice on several vulnerable applications, such as VulnHub, you must download an ISO file and prepare for virtualization. 

  • Proxy

Using such a helpful tool as an interception proxy is essential to trap all the traffic between the user’s browser and the target website. Besides, you can automate some attacks or apply features such as encoding/decoding on the fly.

Great Resources

There are a lot of materials, but to help you commence with the bug bounty trend, we have prepared a list of useful recourses. This information will give you a great start in beginning your bug bounty journey. Some useful bug bounty training books include:

  • Web hacking 101
  • Hacker’s playbook 1,2,3
  • Web app hackers’ handbook
  • OWASP Testing guide
  • Mastering modern web pen testing
  • Hacking art of exploitation 

Here are some handy YouTube channels for you:

  • SANS Institute
  • Hackersploit
  • PortSwigger
  • Hackerone
  • Live Overflow
  • CyberTalents  
  • Hak5 

Practice for Bug Bounty Hunters

Before proceeding to the real bug bounties activities, you may need some web targets that purposefully have been made vulnerable. For example, there are many CTF platforms proposing 24/7 web targets. Web security challenges of CyberTalents can be your convenient place to perform diverse web hacking practices.

Having discussed several tools and topics, this is high time to discuss the bug bounty platform. Now, see a list of the well-reputed platforms offering an assortment of bug bounty programs.

  • HackenProof: This one is a vulnerability coordination-driven platform that connects firms with the security researchers’ hub to expose any security issues.
  • Intigriti: This is Europe’s major community of security-focused researchers that can help companies protect their digital assets.
  • HackerOne: This is the world’s foremost community of bug hunters and hackers.
  • YesWeHack: It dynamically protects applications with a broad community of so-called white hackers incorporating public and private programs.
  • Bugcrowd: A robust bug bounty platform with a security researchers team, it is considered one of the best platforms.
  • Synack: A prevailing American intelligence platform triumphantly automates the discovery of vulnerable digital assets and endpoints.

Bug Bounties Recap 

It is easy to find various bug bounty platforms sharing the same target. That is because they help businesses to secure their software assets and ethically use the skills of security-focused researchers. However, bug bounty sometimes becomes extremely competitive, with many users using the same bug on the same website. Hence, private bug bounties permitting less access to hackers to the target may be better.

Moreover, opting for freelance jobs allows you to apply for a part-time job to do complete penetration testing. For example, the CyberTalents jobs section offers many freelancing jobs you can apply for, such as web penetration testing and ensuring a fixed payment for your time. Yet, you should pass through a complex process before beginning your first bug-hunting job. 


Is bug bounty hunting a good career choice? 

Bug bounty hunting is an ideal way to get an IT job. However, there are various freelancing jobs on special platforms for interested people.

How much money, on average, do bug bounty hunters make?

As per the report, in 2020, cybercriminals paid a median bounty of $3650 to exploit the vulnerabilities on their platform, while the highest compensation paid was $100,000 in 2018.

Can anyone be a successful bug bounty hunter?

Everyone can master this area using resources such as the best bug bounty books. Yet, many corporations have special bug bounty programs that commonly need seasoned hunters.

How long does it take to be a bug bounty hunter?

It typically takes from one to six months, depending on your effort.