Unlocking the Power of Crowdsourced Cybersecurity: What’s Next for Online Safety

Written by Clive Reffell

Dec 5, 2023

Cyber threats are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the traditional model of cybersecurity is facing new challenges as organizations and individuals seek innovative solutions to fortify their digital defenses. An approach gaining significant momentum is crowdsourced cybersecurity, a concept that leverages the collective intelligence of a global network of security experts and enthusiasts to provide on-demand services. This blog explores the current landscape of crowdsourced cybersecurity and what the future holds for online safety.

The Evolution of Crowdsourced Cybersecurity

Crowdsourced cybersecurity, often referred to as bug bounties or ethical hacking programs, has seen exponential growth in recent years. Tech giants, startups, and even government agencies are embracing the power of the crowd to identify and address vulnerabilities in their systems. Here’s how it works.

White hat hackers are the future of crowdsourced cybersecurityCompanies who want to strengthen their cybersecurity go to third party platforms that create bug bounty programs. Then ethical hackers, or “white hat” hackers, are invited to discover and report security flaws in their software or infrastructure. In return, these hackers receive monetary rewards, accelerate their acquisition of skills, and can gain peer recognition.

Unlike traditional cybersecurity, crowdsourced cybersecurity offers continuous testing and monitoring. This dynamic approach to the future of cybersecurity means that vulnerabilities are identified and patched more quickly.

Companies can tap into a diverse talent pool, harnessing the expertise of security professionals from around the world. This broad spectrum of skills and backgrounds, with a range of diverse experiences and expectations, often leads to the discovery of complex vulnerabilities that might otherwise go unnoticed.

The Current State of Crowdsourced Cybersecurity

Crowdsourced cybersecurity is a credible and proven model for identifying vulnerabilities and enhancing online safety. Many high-profile data breaches and security incidents have been prevented due to the collaborative efforts of ethical hackers and organizations. Tech giants including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have been at the forefront of this trend, offering substantial rewards to those who help protect their platforms.

Here are five of the prominent platforms that provide crowdsourced cybersecurity, and represent the future of cybersecurity.

Bugcrowd

Bugcrowd is a well-known platform that was founded in 2012 in Australia. It connects organizations with a community of white-hat hackers, allowing them to identify and fix security vulnerabilities through bug bounty programs and other crowdsourced methods. It has reported significant growth in the past year, and its diverse clients include National Australia Bank, the TX Group media company headquartered in Switzerland, Motorola Mobility and HP printers.

HackerOne

HackerOne is headquartered in California and offers a similar platform that connects organizations with ethical hackers to identify and address security vulnerabilities. They have worked with a wide range of companies, including many top tech firms, and can call on a network of over two million ethical hackers.

Synack

Synack is an American company, founded in 2013 and also based in California. It specializes in crowdsourced penetration testing and security assessments. They have a network of highly skilled security researchers who help organizations uncover and fix vulnerabilities.

YesWeHack

This platform encourages organizations to pay rewards rather than ransom. It was founded in 2015 as a Bug Bounty and Vulnerability Management platform and has achieved a global presence. Its infrastructure is hosted in an EU-based private cloud. Their network of cybersecurity experts earn points and receive invitations to prestigious programs with ever-bigger bounties and, ultimately, live hacking events.

Intigriti

This platform was founded in 2016 and now has a global team of 100+ employees spread across Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Clients include Red Bull, Revolut, Nestle and the European Commission.

What’s Next for Online Safety?

The future of online safety through crowdsourced cybersecurity looks promising, with several key trends and developments on the horizon.

We expect to see more companies, including smaller businesses and startups, adopting crowdsourced cybersecurity as part of their security strategy. Many startups depend on online platforms, cloud services, and interconnected systems to enhance efficiency, though it also exposes them to a higher risk of cyber threats.

Governments and regulatory bodies are recognizing the value of crowdsourced security and are likely to establish standards, regulations and better security to support its growth. It’s not encouraging in the UK to be continually exposed to phishing scams because of hacked details after paying charges online for vehicle tax to use public roads, and for a licence to watch BBC tv shows. Governments need to reassure people that security will be good enough. Crowdsourced cybersecurity will be used to expand beyond identifying vulnerabilities to encompass threat hunting, security assessments, and proactive risk management.

The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning will enhance the crowdsourcing process by identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities more rapidly.

To meet the growing demand for skilled ethical hackers, educational programs and training opportunities will become more accessible and widespread. Crowdsourced cybersecurity communities will also continue to grow, fostering knowledge sharing and collaboration among security enthusiasts.

Conclusion

The future of cybersecurity and online safety is in the hands of global networks of ethical hackers and security professionals who are dedicated to protecting digital assets and personal information. Crowdsourced cybersecurity is not just a trend but a fundamental shift in the way we approach online security. As technology advances and the threat landscape evolves, the power of the crowd will play a central role in safeguarding the digital world. By embracing this model, organizations can stay one step ahead of cyber threats and ensure the safety of their digital ecosystems. The question is not whether to embrace crowdsourced cybersecurity but how to do it effectively. In the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats, what’s next for online safety is collaboration, innovation, and the collective power of the crowd.

BOLD Awards 2024

Boldest Cybersecurity is one of 33 categories in the fifth edition of the BOLD Awards, the Oscars of the digital industries. This category identifies and rewards cybersecurity firms, individuals and products that are working to keep our data and electronic assets safe among a growing threat from hackers and malicious software. This award will be presented to those who are on the frontlines of the effort to prepare, defend and respond to this growing threat.

Entries must be complete by December 31st, 2023. You can start your entry now, and update and amend it as often as you wish before the deadline.

An initial round of public voting in January allows every entrant to mobilize their network of supporters, and the ones that make it to the shortlist of finalists will be invited to a gala dinner award ceremony in Venice, Italy, on March 22nd, 2024.

By then, a second round of judging by a BOLD Awards international panel of experts will have arrived at category winners who will be announced at the event, and not before. The award ceremony is a unique event to network with other finalists, congratulate the winners, and establish valuable connections.

To assess the standard of entries, you may want to check out the winners and finalists from BOLD Awards 2023.

BOLD Awards
About Author

About Author

Clive Reffell

Clive has worked with Crowdsourcing Week on sourcing and creating content since May 2016. With knowledge and experience gained in a 30+ year marketing career based in London, UK, he operates as an independent crowdfunding advisor helping SMEs and startups to run successful crowdfunding projects, and with wider social media and content marketing issues.

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