The gig economy means that there’s a freelance worker for almost any job under the sun, which means it was only a matter of time before the cybersecurity world followed suit. Come to think of it, cybersecurity lends itself perfectly to the freelance economy: with sophisticated data breaches happening all the time, a business’ cybersecurity team needs to stay mobile at all times.
This is where freelance hacking comes in. Rather than relying on an in-house team to detect and protect against cybersecurity threats, big companies are starting to rely on freelance hackers as their main line of defense.
What is freelance hacking, exactly?
The freelance hacking world has flown under the radar mainly because huge firms are using it. CNBC reports that freelance hackers have been employed by the likes of Tesla and the Department of Defense, with these hackers earning up to $500,000 a year. This is a considerable sum considering that Business Insider estimates the average price of an orchestrated DDoS attack to be at $30 a day.
These hackers are paid to find flaws in a company’s cybersecurity system, and are paid in “bounties” for every flaw they capture. In line with typical freelance work, these hackers are employed per project — the final sum of each bounty depends on the seriousness of the breach to be detected.
While this is a lucrative source of income in its own right, the report goes on to state that most ethical hackers still have their own day jobs. As the cost of entry to this position is low, hackers with the right skill set can easily use this as an opportunity for another source of income.
The skills needed for freelance hacking
Hackers obviously need to be well versed in security systems, but the world of cybersecurity alone has so many layers to it. The best hackers are those who compliment their technical skill with business acumen, as this helps them understand how a business builds its digital infrastructure. Top hackers also understand that breaches are seeded out to as many companies as possible, so they’ll try to look for similar vulnerabilities all around cyberspace.
Firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and public key infrastructures are just some skills that hackers need to know — skills that the average person wouldn’t even recognize. HP breaks down encryption into two main types: symmetric and public key encryption.
Additionally, encryption algorithms are constantly being put in place to continue beefing up security protocols. A hacker needs to stay on top of all these developments in order to gain the respect of their clients.
As our digital world grows more complex with each passing day, it makes sense to leave the tech work to the professionals. The New York State Government wants to pass a law to limit government money for ransomware, which shows how cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a political issue. That said, this law still doesn’t get to the root of the issue, which is preventing cybercrime before it gets to the ransom stage. At this rae, freelance hacking may be the de facto cybersecurity protocol for all companies here on out.