Recently, a cybercriminal gang targeted the Las Vegas casino scene by extracting an eight-figure ransom from Caesars Entertainment and bringing slot machines to a halt at MGM Resorts. Politico reported that researchers at Mandiant, CrowdStrike, and SentinelOne had discovered the perpetrators of the Las Vegas hacks are a group of individuals between the ages of 17 and 24, most likely located in the U.S. and Western Europe based on English language clues.
Teenage hackers have had a bad reputation, but these young and highly skilled people are often just seeking opportunities to flex their skills and earn money, recognition, and a sense of belonging. However, it’s not uncommon for cybercriminal gangs to take advantage of their unique skill sets for malicious activities. The Com, the channel that bred the group responsible for the Las Vegas hacks, performs a range of illicit activity, “from sextortion schemes and fraud to blackmail.”
The publicity around exploited young hackers perpetuates fear and stigma that young, skilled hackers have no ethical path to put their talent to work. The good news is that HackerOne has been providing an alternative for young, curious hackers for the last 10+ years, and the HackerOne Brand Ambassador Program provides the community and support new hackers are seeking to hone and harness their skills to hack for good.
The HackerOne Brand Ambassadors are select top hackers in their local areas, playing a critical role in nurturing the hacker community in every corner of the world. In addition to bug bounty hunting themselves, they invite hackers in their local area to take part in social clubs, hacking events, and educational activities. Our Brand Ambassadors are proud to represent their community and HackerOne, whether through hacking meetups, cybersecurity conferences, the exiting Ambassador World Cup, or being a reflection of the hackers we want the world to see.
Let’s meet a few of HackerOne’s young Ambassadors.
Now 23 years old, remonsec started hacking in 2017 in his home country of Bangladesh. He noticed the lack of hacking culture and community established in Bangladesh, and he made a promise to himself that he would work to improve it.
Now, as a HackerOne Brand Ambassador, he raises awareness and educates about the importance of cybersecurity and bug bounties.
“I participate in exclusive events and training sessions offered by HackerOne, where I can learn from security experts and network with other security professionals. Through these activities, I aim to improve my skills and knowledge in cybersecurity and share that knowledge with others.”
According to DrSniper, India is a country experiencing a cybersecurity boom. This provided a number of opportunities for him to break into ethical hacking. Already having a 100,000-subscriber YouTube channel dedicated to his cybersecurity career, DrSniper saw the HackerOne Ambassador program as an avenue to further expand his audience and his ability to hack for good.
As an Ambassador, he forms a community, recruits hackers for his club (India - Haryana), and is proud to represent his team at hacking events.
“To those trying to build connections, learn from others, and hack together, bug bounty hunters, these clubs are a great place to start. 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.”
Encryptsaan123 believes the ability to make a difference and provide a positive impact by securing cyberspace is what brings people into hacking — and he’s no exception. When he started his hacking journey, there were few leaders in the field he felt he could turn to. So, he decided he would become the resource in the Odisha, India region by becoming a HackerOne Brand Ambassador.
Since then, he’s collaborated with other hackers on numerous public bug bounty programs and strives to promote and educate the hacker community in his region.
"Being an ambassador at HackerOne allows me to actively contribute by connecting with other superb hackers and promoting ethical hacking in Odisha and its nearest locations. I have realized that apart from the "hard work," we need a mentor who can make the path easier. For me being an ambassador is a reimbursement to the community. It is why HackerOne says, 'Together, We hit harder.'"
Adnan Malik has become a bug bounty hunter, HackerOne Ambassador, and head of startup cyber safety and digital wellness startup “Security Purple” — all before turning 25. But he didn’t get here alone, and his hacker community is one of the things that drives him toward perpetual growth and success in the space.
As a HackerOne Ambassador, Adnan builds the hacker community in Pakistan, creating a safe culture that promotes the power of hacking and bug bounty.
“One should join this program because it’s one of the best ways to contribute to the community, gain knowledge, and grow together. The HackerOne Ambassador Program helped a lot in terms of exposure, learning, networking, and spotlight. HackerOne Ambassadorship brings many job opportunities, collaborations, and community partnerships with private and public stakeholders.”
Growing up with an early proficiency for computers, Cubed earned a reputation as a “hacker” in grade school — a reputation that he recalls at the time as being a negative one. But he didn’t let the fear of the word “hacker” stop him from putting his skills to use ethically. By the age of 16, he had earned his first bug bounty.
Today, Cubed is studying web security at his university, continuing his success as a bug bounty hunter, recently participating in the Ambassador World Cup finals, and fulfilling his role as a member of the HackerOne Ambassador program. Here’s his advice for other young hackers:
“Don't be a black hat. Get into bug bounty early. If you're into video games and dig modding, it's a good way to turn it into a career. A lot of people get sued for making cheats. Just convert your knowledge into different avenues in hacking, and you'll find yourself on a great path.”
Perpetuating Trust in Hackers — One Ambassador at a Time
Ethical hackers and bug bounty programs are proven to be a top source for identifying vulnerabilities long missed by internal security teams or other solutions. In fact, 91% of HackerOne customers say that hackers provide more impactful and valuable vulnerability reports than AI or scanning solutions. If you’re interested in becoming a HackerOne Brand Ambassador, apply today or check our community website to join your closest club.
To learn more about the power of ethical hackers and bug bounty for your security program, contact us today, and to see the value HackerOne Ambassadors are bringing to customers in real time, follow the Ambassador World Cup!