Hackers are no stranger to finding creative ways to overcome obstacles, and 2020 presented numerous challenges for them to conquer. At HackerOne, we strive to be the number one resource for education, support, and financial opportunity for hackers, so we knew that, in 2020, more than ever before, we would need to empower the global community to do what they do best — hack for good.
2020 saw several new initiatives launch including virtual live hacking events, virtual educational opportunities, and a global hacker conference, h@cktivitycon.
Made by the community and for the community h@cktivitycon 2020 brought together hackers from across the globe to hack and share knowledge. With 12,000 registrants and 20 speakers from London to Delhi to Washington D.C., this worldwide digital event was built for sharing knowledge and building relationships. An impressive lineup of hackers and industry experts covered topics such as pentesting, recon, IoT hacking, and more. Attendees tuned in globally on the HackerOneTV Twitch stream and chatted away on the Hacker101 Discord.
Alongside h@cktivitycon, HackerOne hosted a jeopardy style CTF with over 95 levels, including binary exploitation, cryptography, forensics, IoT, mobile, OSINT, scripting, steganography, web, and a social scavenger hunt! In just 48 hours, the event attracted 10,000+ unique CTF players and 3,500+ CTF teams registered. But the h@cktivitycon CTF wasn’t the only virtual hacking game we had in store in 2020. We hosted a slew of CTFs aimed to thrill and excite while educating hackers about different vulnerabilities and methodologies as they explore or deepen their knowledge of hacking.
In addition to CTFs, hackers can access education on-demand with videos developed to provide detailed instruction on how to hack and develop new skills. New CTFs and educational videos will be launched in 2021 on Hacker101.com.
Live Hacking Events
Perhaps some of our most highly anticipated events every year are live hacking events. Live hacking events, both virtual and in-person, are about bringing people together. By connecting hackers with security, product, and development teams, all parties gain a richer understanding of security bugs, which leads to better fixes, deeper connections, collaboration, and continued learning. 2020 was no different.
For creatives who are just learning to hack, we held a series of educational events in 2020 aimed at building connections and arming aspiring hackers with the tools they need to get started.
Take a look at some of the events mentioned above in this recap video!
Hack for Good
Above all, 2020 proved that hackers are here to do good in the world. In fact, according to our 2020 Hacker Report, one quarter of hackers say that is exactly why they hack. And when we launched the @hackforgood profile, hackers showed up in force to give back through bug bounties with a custom donation profile. For our first charity — The World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund — hackers donated nearly $30,000 in just three months. In 2020, hackers also donated to Save The Children. In 2021, we will be opening donations to Mental Health Hackers and more. Follow along on Twitter for updates on our latest Hack for Good charity: @Hacker0x01.
For the HackerOne team, 2020 was about listening to the hacker community. We launched the Hacker Advisory Board and hNPS (hacker Net Promoter Score) — two high fidelity ways we aimed to get feedback directly from the hacker community. With our focus on learning and listening, we heard a need to focus on triage responsiveness and transparency, which led to updates on the report timeline showing ownership of the next pending action within the report.
Expanding leaderboards and revamping Signal and Impact calculations gave hackers more ways to win and giving hackers another outlet to provide their feedback with the ability to rate your triage experience.
The community team also launched a brand new initiative last year, the HackerOne Brand Ambassador Program. The program was created to gather hackers around the world with others in their area. In pursuit of this goal, we selected ambassadors in their local areas to be the leader in their local communities. We welcomed 7 brand ambassadors to be an extension of HackerOne across North America, LATAM, APAC, and EMEA. For each region, we created a discord for the community so hackers can get together, share knowledge, and educate others on all things hacking.
What’s to come…
In 2021, we commit to continuing our investment in the hacker community.
We are excited to deliver virtual live hacking experiences and look forward to bringing back in-person hacking experiences as soon as it’s safe to do so. We’ll be building more capture the flag challenges and educational videos for and with hackers, which you can find both on Hacker101 and through our new partners. We will build on our work with regional brand ambassadors to provide collaborative hacking environments and mentorship opportunities through the expansion of our brand ambassador program. Be on the lookout for more exciting news about the Clear program, opportunities to win swag packages, tailored hacking engagements for those with special skills, the growth of our Pentest community, and chances to make your voice heard!
In short, there will be more and more ways to earn cash, learn, and challenge yourself, further your career and achieve your goals, and connect with other hackers building friends and community. HackerOne is the land of opportunity for hackers; thank you for being with us!