Reshaping the Hacker Conversation
At the start of our relationship with HackerOne, the concept of working with “ethical” hackers was very controversial and far from mainstream. Our challenge was to alter the perception of a hacker to help business leaders and CISOs understand the benefit of tapping the largest security team on the planet—the international hacker community.
HackerOne’s potential to help organizations of all kinds, from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises and national government agencies, was big. As such, their narrative needed to be bold and trustworthy. Our approach was to bring the conversation mainstream while remaining focused on HackerOne’s vision and expertise.
We honed in on the following trends to raise the company’s profile: information sharing, weapons export controls, open source, and security debates such as the FBI vs. Apple encryption story. HackerOne would go on to lead the conversation on global issues relating to cross-border disclosure, protecting the rights of ethical hackers all over the world, and pointing out that the primary issue with the FBI breaking into the San Bernardino iPhone isn’t privacy, but the fact that someone was keeping a vulnerability out of the only hands that could fix it and protect user privacy.
A sampling of media results from this approach includes:
- In-depth features on the founding of HackerOne and the rise of the bug bounty ecosystem in Newsweek and The New York Times
- Inclusion in educational feature stories about hackers for hire and the economics of hacking in The Washington Post, CNBC (on air & online) and NBC Press:Here
- Commentary on industry issues included in WIRED, The New York Times and Ars Technica
- Creative hacking demonstrations to build consumer awareness featured in The New York Times
- Thought leadership content placed in TIME
- Customer program launch coverage in mainstream publications, including Fast Company, Fortune and ABC News
Within the first three months of working with Mission North, HackerOne evolved from a little known security startup to the foremost authority on some of the security industry’s biggest issues with 53 percent share of voice against its more established competitors. The company is also seeing big business benefits due to its new high profile, including customer wins with Uber, General Motors and the Department of Defense. As of April 2016, HackerOne has paid out nearly $7 million in bug bounties, fixed over 20,000 bugs, and recruited hundreds of new customers and hackers to participate in their community.