Facebook pays bug hunters $1 million; India second biggest recipient

Social networking giant Facebook said it has paid over USD 1 million in the past two years to security researchers who report bugs on its website, with India second among recipients by country.

India, which has over 78 million Facebook users, is also second on the list of countries with the fastest-growing number of recipients of its Bug Bounty programme.

A bug is an error or defect in software or hardware that causes a programme to malfunction. It often occurs due to conflicts in software when applications try to run in tandem.

While bugs can cause software to crash or produce unexpected results, certain defects can be used to gain unauthorised access to systems.

Facebook said it started the Bug Bounty programme a little more than two years ago to reward security researchers who report issues and to encourage people to help keep the site safe and secure.

“The programme has been even more successful than we’d anticipated,” Facebook said in a statement on its website. “We’ve paid out more than USD 1 million in bounties and have collaborated with researchers from all around the world to stamp out bugs in our products and in our infrastructure.”

The social networking major said 329 people have received rewards, including professional researchers, students and part-timers. The youngest recipient was 13 years old.

“The countries with the most bounty recipients are, in order, the US, India, UK, Turkey, and Germany. The countries with the fastest-growing number of recipients are, in order, the US, India, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Germany, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, Sweden, and Russia,” it noted.

While the bug hunters are spread across 51 countries, 20 per cent of the bounty paid so far have gone to US-based recipients, it added.

“Our Bug Bounty program allows us to harness the talent and perspective of people from all kinds of backgrounds, from all around the world,” Facebook Security Engineer Collin Greene said.

Two of the bounty recipients have taken up full-time jobs with the Facebook security team, he added.



To prep against a massive asteroid strike, NASA wants India’s help

Saving humanity from a mega-asteroid strike could be the next big effort in co-operation between USA and India.

The American space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is looking to actively co-operate with India on how best to avert the possibility of humans getting wiped out if a large asteroid were to strike the Earth.

Memories of a big meteorite striking Russia in spectacular fashion on February 15, which injured 1,500 people, are still very fresh.

Speaking exclusively to NDTV’s Science Editor Pallava Bagla in Vienna, NASA chief and former astronaut Charles Bolden said the asteroid issue will be high on his agenda when he visits India next week as part of the large delegation being led by Secretary of State John Kerry for the Indo-US strategic dialogue to be held in New Delhi.

Mr Bolden will consult in detail with K Radhakrishnan, the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), about how to develop technology “to move a civilisation-killer out of a collision course” with Earth.

Mr Bolden said “humanity should not go down the route of dinosaurs”, which are known to have been wiped out when a giant asteroid struck the Earth. This generated a huge dust column, which blocked out sunshine for a long period, making dinosaurs extinct.

NASA has been mandated by US President Barrack Obama to examine the possibility of landing humans on an asteroid in the next decade and humans on Mars in the next 25 years.

But before undertaking the next human space flight, NASA hopes to polish its skills with full international collaboration on how to nudge a small asteroid that could be on collision course with the Earth.

Mr Bolden says by 2018, it will launch a $2 billion mission to gently nudge a small 500 metric tonne asteroid by “capturing it and redirecting it away from Earth towards the moon.”
ISRO has already announced that it wants to launch an unmanned mission to closely study an asteroid soon.

NASA and ISRO co-operated successfully for India’s maiden mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1. In 2008, their collaborative efforts led to the first clinching evidence of the presence of water on the moon.

Source: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/to-prep-against-a-massive-asteroid-strike-nasa-wants-india-s-help-382534