It is increasingly hard to remember a time when bug bounty programs, let alone disclosure programs, weren't so universally accepted. These days, you'll find bounties for everything from branches of the military to your toaster.
Trend Micro's Zero Day Initiative, the largest vendor-agnostic bug bounty program in the world, was battle-hardened more than a decade before you could hack the Pentagon. They have purchased and disclosed vulnerabilities found by freelance hackers in everything from Windows to industrial control equipment. It’s one-part public service to help disclose vulnerabilities to manufacturers, one-part research service for defenders trying to get a head start on security gaps they will need to defend.
The Initiative celebrated 15 years this week. It has disclosed more than 7,500 vulnerabilities in its time, paying out more than $20 million. Its Pwn2Own competitions have become massive events.
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