Meta Is Expanding Its Bug Bounty Program, And Is Now Willing To Pay Individuals For Tracking Down And Reporting Incidents Of Data Scraping

Meta is expanding its bug bounty program, entertaining those individuals who manage to unearth signs and symptoms of data scraping.

Bug-finding bounties are a pretty common part of the software design trade, with companies such as Microsoft and Apple offering hackers and analysts rewards in the thousands, or even millions, for locating deficiencies in programming and code. Oftentimes, the rewards best reaped are from jobs where potential security breaches are identified and pointed out. Even with beta testing, Devs can’t always cover every single part of their developmental cycle. They’re making machines that can conduct a thousand separate processes, some of them simultaneously even. In the face of all this, it’s sometimes best to allow a third-party to examine one’s operating software and system, bringing in a fresh perspective that developers who’ve spent months working on the same lines of code can’t possibly muster up. Such bounties aren’t just limited to software, however, as the identification of malformations in hardware, desktops, and smartphones is also offered a handsome sum at the end. Overall, a pretty lucrative field to be in, and it is also why cybersecurity firms keep publishing reports about new security breaches or potential ones.

Meta is a company that could particularly benefit from this entire process of hiring “bounty hunters”. It has three separate major social media platforms underneath it, owns multiple VR studios, and is even working on building the new Metaverse; a social media experience that relies on building VR worlds through which users can interact with each other. However, Meta’s not asking for hackers to investigate security breaches or missing lines of code. It’s asking bounty hunters to go scrounging for data scraping. Meta’s blog post on the matter even goes so far as to state that it may be the first ever major company to ask this of analysts. So, the question arises: what is data scraping, and why is it so important?

Data scraping is the act of utilizing automated tools in order to dig up personal data from users, typically all co-existing in a large database of sorts. The likes of Facebook and Instagram provide perfect examples, and even targets, for such cybersecurity attacks. From there on, scrapers will go after literally any form of information not virtually bolted down. Names, addresses, phone numbers, and profile photos are often accumulated by such tools, and are then sometimes set up in an entirely new profiling system which can cause potential harm to such accounts.

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