Welcome to the fifth piece in Bugcrowd’s LevelUpX series! Our speaker in the series is Z-winK. In this presentation, Z-winK will build on his latest series (check it out here) and will take you through a deeper dive into hunting IDOR (Insecure Direct Object Reference) for big dollars.
I started tinkering with computers when I was about seven. The PC components were each about the size of a laptop at that time, and the internet was a series of massive computers connected through screeching dial-up modems. My father managed our AOL (dial-up service) account at the time, and when I asked him to create me a user, he used the automatic username creation feature and “ZwinK” was generated and born. I ended up using the name while gaming all through the 1990’s and 2000’s, and it just stuck. Much of my computer background came from online gaming and all that entails.
I bug bounty hunt from Windows OS, which I think is fairly unique in the field. Because I started on computers so long ago, I grew up on ancient IBM machines running DOS and Windows v3.0, and progressed through the Windows evolutions. To me, it’s an efficiency thing, not a security thing. There is very little I don’t know about the operating system and this allows me to be very, very efficient when bug bounty hunting. You don’t need to run Kali Linux to make $500,000 a year hacking, just an OS you can use well.
Fast forward 30 years and I am now 37 – which is well above the average age of most bug hunters. While I do have college degrees, they aren’t in “computer science”, and I also possess zero cyber security certifications because I don’t value them. I live on the east coast in the United States, and bug bounty hunt part-time. I have a great full-time position as a web penetration tester, which I actually obtained via hacking a program through Bugcrowd. Pretty sweet right?
I started bug bounty hunting with Bugcrowd in October of 2020 – and for reference, that was the year all the toilet paper ran out. So I’ve been at this for about 1.5 years now. I made $100 my first month bug hunting and over $100,000 last month. That’s ludicrous right? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not magic, it’s mostly broken access control issues. The great thing about crowd-sourced security is that everyone brings something unique to a target, and this is the attack vector I feel rather artisan-level at, if it’s possible to be artisan-level at swapping IDs out.
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