Ethical Hackers Reduce $27B in Risk During COVID-19 Vulnerability Surge

Bugcrowd, a crowdsourced cybersecurity platform for multiple solutions, released its annual Inside the Mind of a Hacker ’21 report, which provides CIOs and CISOs valuable insight on ethical hackers and the economics of security research.

New findings indicate a shift in the threat landscape with eight out of ten ethical hackers recently having identified a vulnerability they had never seen.

This comprehensive annual study offers an in-depth look at ethical hackers to reveal how they reduce risk, which industries leverage their expertise most, and what organizations are doing to attract high-performing security researchers to their programs. It indicates the growing geographic disparity in crowdsourced cybersecurity investment, with continental Europe allocating 79 percent less budget to ethical hacking than North America.

The report analyzes survey responses and security research conducted on the Bugcrowd Platform from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021, in addition to millions of proprietary data points collected on vulnerabilities from 2,961 security programs. It also features the personal profiles of several ethical hackers who work on the Bugcrowd Platform.

Key takeaways include:

  • 91 percent of ethical hackers said point-in-time testing cannot secure companies year-round
  • 80 percent of ethical hackers found a vulnerability they had not encountered before the pandemic
  • 74 percent of ethical hackers agree vulnerabilities have increased since the onset of COVID-19
  • 71 percent of ethical hackers report they earn more now that most companies work remotely
  • 45 percent of ethical hackers believe lack of scope inhibits the discovery of critical vulnerabilities
  • 27 billion dollars worth of cybercrime was prevented by ethical hackers on the Bugcrowd Platform

Cybercrime represents more than 1 percent of global GDP, costing organizations an estimated $1 trillion in losses in 2021. Ethical hackers are challenging the powerful forces behind these attacks, enabling companies to continuously secure their digital assets and software development lifecycle (SDLC) with greater efficiencies than traditional approaches.

Ethical hackers are multigenerational and younger than ever. Faced with the worst job market since the Great Depression and disproportionate job loss throughout the pandemic, 54 percent of Gen Z (born 1997–2012) report using their skills as digital natives to kick-start ethical hacking careers.

Readers of the report will understand better how ethical hackers reduce risk for organizations, provide the most significant security return on investment, and accelerate digital transformation. To download a copy of the Inside the Mind of a Hacker ’21 report, click here.

To learn more about the Bugcrowd Platform, visit