Hacking in modern-day world is a rather lucrative career. And the money from it can come not necessarily from shady organizations but even from the authorities. Recent reports suggest that U.S. government pays hackers up to $250,000 to find zero-day iOS exploits. The money varies for different kinds of hacks and hackers can earn against exploits in popular browsers and other widely-used software.
Typically, the authorities uses these hacks to access the target’s computer. Traditionally, the method to reveal an exploit has been to divulge it at a conference or an event hosted by the company who created the software. But it would seem that striking a deal with the government can bring the hackers much more money.
If a company is directly told about a security vulnerability, it would patch it up as soon as possible. This is not the case with the authorities. They would use the vulnerability to keep tabs on the targets and access their computer and data. Also, to the hackers, a deal with the authorities is lot better since it brings more bucks and is safer, in comparison to selling the exploits to a mafia or other shady organizations.
According to a chart put together by Forbes, while iOS exploits clock highest in terms of money, exploits in popular browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer can also bring a hacker up to $200,000. Firefox and Safari hacks pay less while any exploits in a software to ordinary as Adobe Reader or Flash can also be monetized by selling it to the government.
The price is typically high if the hack is for a software which is widely used, is an exclusive hack and the company who created the software has no notion of it. Also, the payment comes in installment which continue as long as the developer company doesn’t patch the security loophole.