Black Hat Fireside Chat: The impactful role crowdsourced security intelligence must play

By Byron V. Acohido

From Kickstarter to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing has become a part of everyday life.

Sharing intel for a greater good

Now one distinctive type of crowdsourcing — ethical hacking – is positioned to become a much more impactful component of securing modern networks.

I had a terrific discussion about this at Black Hat USA 2023 with Casey Ellis, founder and CTO of Bugcrowd, a pioneer in the crowdsourced security market. Bugcrowd ushered in crowdsourced security with its launch in 2012, and today a covey of vendors have followed suit, each supplying intricate platforms to connect hackers with proven skillsets to companies that have particular needs.

“What we’ve got under the hood is effectively a dating website for people who are good at breaking into computers,” Ellis says.

Crowdsourced security vendors (others include Synack, Hacker One and Intigriti) make it seamless for companies to tap into a global network of software coders, and set them on the hunt for vulnerabilities.

Guest expert: Casey Ellis, CTO, Bugcrowd

This decentralized, diligently-managed approach meshes well with the overall shift to massively interconnected digital services.

For more on this, please do give the accompanying podcast a listen. Ellis and I discuss the evolution of pen testing, the current state of bug bounties and the rising influence of AI. For instance, some 85 percent of hackers responding to Bugcrowd’s Inside the Mind of a Hacker poll said they are already using generative AI in their workflows.

For its part, Bugcrowd has committed to helping companies shift to a risk-management approach to security, Ellis says. With AI speeding everything up, triaging risks makes a lot of sense. I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors we cover.)



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