This episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast continues the Hacker Valley Red series by featuring Alex Rice. Alex is the CTO and co-founder of HackerOne, and he joins hosts Ron and Chris for a conversation about such topics as the beginnings of the researcher community, bug bounty, and the term “hacker.”
Alex first shares about his background leading up to what he’s doing today. He worked as a developer, and then about 20 years ago, he moved into the security field. Part of his career trajectory was motivated by his frustration over a lack of feedback loops, and he explains both how HackerOne came to be and some details about bug bounty. Ron and Chris are particularly interested in why HackerOne has the term “hacker” in it, even though the term can carry with it negative connotations (however inaccurate they may be). Alex clarifies that he and his colleagues do not want to beat around the bush, but want to be part of the work of dismantling false stereotypes about hacking.
Moving forward in the conversation, Alex covers a variety of topics related to his work. He addresses changes in hackers’ experiences with cease and desist orders, the bug bounty community, and the gamification of security and hacking. He shares about different motivations of security researchers, teenagers making a lot of income through bug bounty, hacking outliers and their personas, impacts of COVID-19, and writing reports. Ron and Chris ask Alex about whether or not unhackability is possible (spoiler: it’s not!), as well as about the closest thing to unhackable that can be achieved. Alex explains what he’s looking toward in the future, talks about his love of outdoor work, and finally offers encouragement to the person in bug bounty looking to keep progressing in the field.
1:34 - Listeners are introduced to Alex Rice and the conversation to come.
2:41 - What is Alex’s background, and what is he doing today?
7:45 - Alex explains why the term “hacker” is included in his company’s name.
10:45 - The group considers cease and desist orders, bug bounty community, and gamification of security and hacking.
18:11 - Alex addresses the reality of teenagers making millions through bug bounty, as well as the personas of hacking outliers.
22:43 - Alex talks bug bounty, COVID-19, and writing reports.
25:41 - Is unhackability possible? If not, what’s the closest we can get to it?
30:02 - The conversation concludes with Alex’s thoughts on the future, hobbies, and encouragement to people in bug bounty looking to continue in the field.