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Hacker mindset survey reveals more ‘caring’ community

Report from Bugcrowd highlights growth in social responsibility and neurodiversity among hackers, along with explosion of Coronavirus bug-fix opportunities.

A growing social responsibility trend among businesses is causing 93% of hackers to primarily hack out of care for the well-being of the organisations with which they work, a survey has found.

The Inside the Mind of a Hacker report from security platform provider Bugcrowd, analysed 3,493 survey responses from practicing hackers, plus hacking activity on the Bugcrowd Platform between May 2019 and April 2020. The report also incorporates data from 1,549 programs and 7.7m platform interactions to pro-vide a deep view of emergent trends among Bug Bounty, Penetration Testing, Attack Surface Management, and Vulnerability Disclosure Programs.

Among its wide-ranging findings, Inside the Mind of a Hacker says that 13% of the hackers polled are neuro-diverse and possess ‘neurological advantages’ that help them provide ‘extraordinary depth and dimension in security testing’. These strengths include exceptional memory skills, heightened perception, a precise eye for detail, and an enhanced understanding of systems.

Nearly half of neurodiverse hackers (6% of the total surveyed) experience Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), and appear to thrive in environments of rapid change, such as security research, ‘where creativity and out-of-the-box thinking are rewarded generously’, the report found.

The hackers surveyed reside in more than 100 countries; most notably, the report identified an 83% growth in respondents living in India, and 73% of respondents say that they speak two or more languages.

More than half of hackers (61%) have noticed an increase in available Bug Bounty programs to participate in, due to widespread remote working conditions related to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. The FBI reported a 400% rise in cybercrime after the pandemic was confirmed, and organisations worldwide are investing more in Bug Bounty programmes in response, Inside the Mind of a Hacker points out.

“We are in unprecedented territory – and Coronavirus has forced many businesses to accelerate Digital Transformation efforts,” says Ashish Gupta, CEO & President at Bugcrowd. “The rush to digitise businesses can create serious lapses in security. Organisations are now turning to Bug Bounty programmes to proac-tively safeguard new products and applications against vulnerabilities.”

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