Ethical hacking was once the pursuit of security researchers who wanted something to present at their next conference, or lone wolves who enjoyed the thrill of the chase (but not the threat of prison).
Today, ethical hacking has become big business in the form of bug hunting. More and more companies—from the likes of Microsoft and Google, industries giants such as GM and Uber, and even US government agencies such as the Army and Air Force—now run bug-bounty programs and competitions.
Startups such as Bugcrowd and HackerOne that facilitate bug-bounty programs claim hundreds of thousands of ethical hackers on their platform between them, all ready to help check the security posture of an organization and make a buck or two in the progress.
So, who are these ethical hackers?
Both HackerOne and Bugcrowd have released demographic reports outlining who their hackers are. Bugcrowd claims 80,000 researchers on its platform, HackerOne just over 160,000.