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Bug Bounty Field Manual: The Definitive Guide for Planning, Launching, and Operating a Successful Bug Bounty Program

Bug Bounty Field Manual: The Definitive Guide for Planning, Launching, and Operating a Successful Bug Bounty Program

Writing the Bug Bounty Field Manual was a herculean task. Just ask Adam Bacchus, the distinguished author of this manual. But as he’ll tell you, it was also an incredibly enjoyable piece to write.

“I’m incredibly passionate about bridging the gap between friendly hackers and security teams, as well as helping as many people as I can in the bug bounty space,” Adam said. He continued, “writing the Bug Bounty Field Manual took a lot of time and energy to write, but seeing people leverage it to great effect in their organizations is incredibly rewarding.”

If you know Adam, you know that he means that one-thousand percent. If you don’t know Adam, you’ll get to know him fairly well after spending an hour (or two, or three) reading the full e-book.

So What is the Bug Bounty Field Manual?

Adam and I had the hubris of setting out to create the most comprehensive, educational, practical, and valuable resource ever about the ins and outs of running a successful bug bounty program.

It will tell you everything you need to know to plan, launch, and operate a successful bug bounty program.

And while the results aren’t perfect (nothing ever is, just like no software is ever 100% secure :), we are pretty proud of what we’ve created and believe we’ve achieved our goal. But you can be the judge of that.

Bug Bounty Field Manual, by the numbers

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After reading the Bug Bounty Field Manual you will be able to:

  • Have complete confidence in communicating to your team (and boss) what your “readiness” for bug bounties is.

  • Structure a roadmap of concrete steps to bug bounty success beginning with your Vulnerability Management process.

  • Painlessly spin up a full job description of a Bug Bounty Leader with our turnkey job description template (see the Appendix for the JD).

  • Create the exact schedule for a bug bounty duty rotation to ensure coverage and program success.

  • Articulate and define the benefits of what’s in a bug bounty platform. We break it down and explore stories of customers like Github, Riot Games, Twitter, Uber, Shopify and others who have maximized many of the fancy bells and whistles the HackerOne platform has to offer.

  • Know exactly what to set your bounty award levels at. Get a full breakdown on two methodologies to choose from that have been successfully utilized by our top customers.

  • Easily identify your bounty award process (see chapter 2.3.2).

  • Structure your Service Level Agreements regarding time to triage and time to bounty (this is very important and we explain why in chapter 2.4)

  • Write a fantastic security page for your bug bounty program. You will have the best security page ever. An absolutely fantastic security page.

  • Design the roadmap to budget approval and know how to communicate with ALL your internal stakeholders (chapter 3 dives into this with a fun Star Wars analogy)

  • Know what number of hackers to invite to your program launch and easily answer whether a private or a public launch is best for you.

  • Triage like the experts and determine whether triage service support is right for you (spoiler: it probably is - read for yourself in chapter 4.2)

  • Measure program success with the help of the HackerOne Success Index.

  • Understand how mature programs maintain crazy amounts of value in their bug bounty programs post-launch (chapter 5 has all the juicy tips).

  • Know what data you should be looking at with full guidance on root cause analysis steps.

  • Confidently communicate and respond to hackers of all types (including the dreaded “ransom note”)

  • Party like a rockstar and celebrate your bug bounty milestones in style!

This is just the beginning

We’ll be continuing to add more in-depth resources to the Bug Bounty Field Manual in the coming months that go even further into the practical how-to’s. Such as:

  • The Bounty Process: All the details you need to know

  • Vulnerability Management Manual: The definitive guide for your organization’s domination of Vulns.

  • Bug triage described, defined, and demystified

  • Setting up your on-duty rotation to perfection

Whether you’re just getting started on your bug bounty journey, or you need a refresher course on some nuanced element of your program, we’ve got you covered. And if your question isn’t answered, we’re here for you! Just one email or digital smoke signal away.

So what are you waiting for?

Download the Complete e-book

Ps - Have a topic you’d want us to cover in future material or any feedback on the manual? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it and make all your wildest bug bounty content dreams come true.


HackerOne is the #1 hacker-powered security platform, helping organizations find and fix critical vulnerabilities before they can be criminally exploited. As the contemporary alternative to traditional penetration testing, our bug bounty program solutions encompass vulnerability assessment, crowdsourced testing and responsible disclosure management. Discover more about our security testing solutions or Contact Us today.