By now we all know that the web is very big business. Internet giants like Amazon, Google (News - Alert) and the like are raking in money hand over fist. In order to protect their investments several of these companies pay out good money in order to find flaws in their programming. It turns out one of these companies is one that has long come under fire for privacy issues.
It was revealed today that Facebook (News - Alert) paid out as much as $40,000 to several different hackers who were able to point out flaws to the social media site. Reportedly the company paid $7,000 to one specific hacker who pointed out six different security holes. Of course the reasoning behind these kinds of payouts are fairly obvious especially for a site like Facebook.
Social media sites stores hundreds of thousands of people’s personal data. If a hacker was able to get into the sites databases there could be serious repercussions when it comes to identity theft. Some people store enough information in their Facebook profiles, without thinking about how accessible it is that would allow hackers to build entire online “clones.” With these online personalities they could rack up hundreds of thousands of debt all coming back on the unsuspecting person.
We’ve also already seen the damage that can be done when a website doesn’t properly safeguard their data. It isn’t only huge sites with hundreds of thousands of users getting hacked either. Recently the Nokia (News - Alert) developer’s forum was hacked, leaving user’s information vulnerable. Of course, other times, large scale sites have obvious holes in their security systems. The hacker group ‘Anonymous’ recently breached the BART website, prompting some service interruptions.
While several other companies have turned to paying people to find security weaknesses in their sites, there are some drawbacks. There are of course the dangers of the hackers using the weaknesses for their own gains before they bother telling the company about them. When you are talking about giving out large sums of money, you are also going to get your fair share of people claiming weaknesses were found where none exist. Facebook has apparently let it be known there were plenty of reports filed about weaknesses that weren’t actually there.
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Edited by Jennifer Russell