It seems that hardly a week goes by that we don't hear of some big company or government agency getting hacked with large caches of customer information or government secrets being purloined. It's as if nothing put in a computer is safe anymore.
Technologyreview.com tells us about a bug catcher who claims to make a quarter million a year, but that the work is tedious, and the payoff is typically much less. Excerpt:
Bug bounty programs have been around since 1995, but they’ve really taken off in the last few years, after Google and Facebook launched their initiatives in 2010 and 2011. Microsoft, Samsung, Uber, and Tesla (which pays for bugs found in its cars’ software) all have cash-for-bugs schemes. Apple, which was a holdout until earlier this month—and faced criticism for it—now says it will pay up to $200,000 per bug, but you have to be invited. Even the U.S. government got in on the trend earlier this year, with its Hack the Pentagon program.
The Department of Defense invited hackers to "identify vulnerabilities on a predetermined department system." And we can hope they can eliminate whatever is causing the massive NSA leakage. But that would probably be coincidental.
Here's a job for the bug catchers. We have a federal election coming up with most voters using computerized ballots. We generally assume that any cheating will benefit Democrats and that Republicans have to exceed the margin of fraud to win. But these days maybe we should simply accept the fact that hacking will occur and hope that the side we favor has the best hackers.