This Dark Market Wants to Pay You Bitcoin to Find Security Bugs

Bug bounty hunters could make as much as 10 bitcoins identifying security problems at the popular dark marketplace Hansa.

AccessTimeIconFeb 6, 2017 at 7:53 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:04 p.m. UTC

Bug bounty hunters could make as much as 10 bitcoins identifying security problems at the popular dark marketplace Hansa.

Taking a page from leading tech companies which offer cash rewards to developers that spot code issues, administrators for the market announced last week that it would pay 10 BTC for "vulnerabilities that could severely disrupt HANSA's integrity". The program was first reported by CyberScoop.

For bugs that aren’t as critical, admins said they would offer 1 BTC, with 0.05 BTC being put up for display issues and other minor problems.

There are rules for the program, however. Prospective bounty hunters are asked not to make the exploits public prior to disclosing them to the market’s operators, or undertake any attacks that might harm Hansa users. The more details that are provided, the admins wrote, "the higher the chance a payout will be awarded".

The admins went on to explain:

"To be eligible, you must demonstrate a security compromise on our market using a reproducible exploit. Should you encounter a bug please open a ticket and inform us about your findings."

In a way, the bug bounty program further highlights the dark market ecosystem’s continued use of bitcoin as a financial tool. Years before, it was the now-defunct Silk Road that relied on bitcoin as a payment tool, though today markets have begun looking to other digital currencies like monero.

Social media posts suggest that at least one site-critical bug has been identified, with CyberScoop reporting that others had been found since the program’s launch.

Image via Shutterstock

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