What made you want to become an ambassador?
I love meeting and getting to know new people. Regarding cybersecurity, it is fun talking to people about their stories, what motivated them to get into this field, and helping beginners start their journey. I have formed a community through my YouTube channel with over 90,000 subscribers. My channel motivated me to take it a notch further and reach out to a larger global community. The HackerOne Ambassador program has been the perfect opportunity for this.
Why should people join this program?
The HackerOne Brand Ambassador program is one of a kind. Brand Ambassadors represent multiple clubs in various regions. To those trying to build connections, learn from others, and hack together, bug bounty hunters, these clubs are a great place to start. Working in a team and collaborating is one of the best parts of our community. The HackerOne Brand Ambassador program allows us to work together, reach out to fellow researchers, and share our exploits. In the end, we can achieve so much more together.
What is your role as an ambassador?
My role as an ambassador is to form a community and recruit hackers in my club (India - Haryana). As an ambassador, I also represent my team in various events, and I love that. It is a huge responsibility to form a community, build that community up, and be a bridge between researchers. Regardless if they are new or veterans.
What is the hacking scene like in your city/region?
India is a country that is witnessing a cybersecurity boom. India is the only country with four different Ambassador clubs. That speaks volumes to the significant number of talented hackers in this region. From newcomers to highly skilled researchers with 10+ years of experience doing bug bounties, we have a lot to offer. On top of that, the whole community is very collaborative.
What did you do for your last meet-up?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we chose not to conduct in-person meet-ups. However, most of us collaborate online when we hunt various targets, which still works out. All of us learn from each other, and together, we hit harder! There will be opportunities in the future and more events through HackerOne. A meet-up is definitely in the cards soon.
Have you ever hacked a program as a team?
Yes, I often collaborate with other researchers from our community. Last year, we participated in the Ambassador World Cup, wherein we had to hack public programs and earn points for the final championship. We had a team stacked with some fantastic hackers. We were able to advance to the final round. Ultimately, our team ranked #2, but it still felt like a massive achievement. All of us hacked tirelessly. We had our sights set on winning it, but we worked hard to reach that standing- I still count it as a fruitful endeavor. We all loved working as a team and look forward to participating in the next Ambassador event.
What do you believe brings most people into hacking?
Cybersecurity is as vast as an ocean. It is not just limited to a bug bounty- you can be in red teaming, penetration testing, network security, or hardware hacking. The sector provides a space where people can choose from various experiences. In addition, you are paid well for time and effort, which is a prime motivator for researchers. All this together makes for an excellent feeling when you put it together.
I clearly remember the excitement I felt when I got my first bounty. To this day, I feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement every time I reach a new milestone.
How did you feel about the Ambassador World Cup?
I was happy to represent the India (Haryana) team in the Ambassador World Cup. It was a great initiative taken by the HackerOne team to host such a unique and competitive event. The credit for making it to the finals and getting second place in the first-ever Ambassador World Cup goes to a team that worked hard together. Each one of us gave our best throughout the event. We shared our successes and failures, giving us a sense of belonging.
The event was thrilling. There was an element of continuous excitement watching the scores and seeing teams competing against each other. Also, the adrenaline rush we got from hunting and scoring our crits.
What other events would you like to see in the future?
In-person team-based live hacking with the Ambassadors would be an exciting opportunity. We can see how the energy of in-person events helps people discover creative exploits as a team. Together, we can chain bugs, increase impact, and score more significant bounties.
What makes an ambassador community successful?
A good group Helps each other with their doubts. It applies to more than just cybersecurity insights. A strong community also cares about the lives of its fellow club members. The true purpose of us Ambassadors is to engage the community by sharing our experiences at HackerOne. We want to encourage researchers to hack more, collaborate with others, and share what it takes to be successful in bug bounty. That makes the role of an Ambassador the crucial thread connecting all the dots. I feel privileged to have this opportunity and do justice to my role as an ambassador.
What difficulties do you and your group face?
As a group, we haven't faced many difficulties. That is one of the best parts of working in a team. We know that we all have each other's backs and that we can achieve so much more together.
What can you offer to people just starting bug hunting?
Building a solid foundation is the most important thing to be successful in Bug Bounties. Understanding how the web works, what an HTTP Request looks like, OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, encoding techniques, networking concepts, and learning about encryption are crucial to your start.
Additionally, read write-ups and publicly disclosed reports to understand the thinking process of other researchers. Learn as much as you can and try to look for creative bugs.
Or join us, and we will help you on that path!
Did the ambassador program help you build your professional career? How?
Certainly, I've gained more public exposure while also helping me build professional relationships. Leading a team in the Ambassador World Cup and motivating other team members was also an opportunity for personal growth.
I've got to know hackers worldwide and expand my circle here in India. We have built such an inclusive community, and I am proud to see that.