White hat hackers are computer security specialists who break into protected systems and networks in an attempt to test and assess the systems security. These skills improve security by exposing vulnerabilities before malicious hackers (known as black hat hackers) can detect and exploit them.
In today’s society vulnerable data is often times protected by systems that are insecure. This leads to data breaches like that of the recent Equifax hack, which lost the personal information of nearly half of American citizens. It is clearly very important to thoroughly test systems and networks that store sensitive information, and all too often this is does not happen.
Although tech giants like Google are known to reward bug hunters for finding vulnerabilities in their system, other times white hat hackers are disincentivized from reporting bugs due to various legal grey areas that could get them in considerable trouble for attempting to break into corporate and government computer networks. To the general public, the term “hacker” is synonymous with a member of a cyber criminal underground. But does this have to be the case? Incentivizing benevolent computer security specialists to report bugs and vulnerabilities would benefit us all and significantly help to protect sensitive data.
Hacken – a Tailored Token for Cybersecurity Professionals
The Hacken Ecosystem provides a solution for the security vulnerabilities previously mentioned. Created to nourish the connection between blockchain and cybersecurity communities, Hacken promotes hacker ethics and encourages legitimate research of computer networks and software. This project will allow customers to acquire high quality penetration test services and vulnerability assessments for their products.
Hacken is built on the Ethereum blockchain and has its own ERC20 token, HKN. Hacken’s mission is to create a decentralized community of white hat hackers supported by its own cryptocurrency. The company has already raised an equivalent of $900,000 during their pre-sale in September. Having distributed 800,000 tokens they are now looking forward to a successful token sale with over 1,000 contributors registered on the whitelist.
The figure below helps to explain the token flow and demonstrates the need for a utility token within this ecosystem. Furthermore, it outlines Hacken’s unique token burning model. In this model all profits from the operations of the Hacken Ecosystem are split in half. Half of these profits are removed or “burned” from the system and the other half are sold back in the open market. This model facilitates lower volatility and improved liquidity.
The Hacken Team
The Hacken team is based out of the Ukraine. It features experts in cyber-security, finance, and business development. I recently had the chance to speak with Hacken founder Dmytro Budorin to gain valuable insight into their project and the goals they aim to accomplish.
What made you realize that there is potential in applying blockchain technology to incentivize white hat hackers to report bugs?
Hacken team has a massive background in cybersecurity having launched successful businesses and government projects. We follow the trends and thus know that blockchain is a true game-changer in the global economy. Hacken is determined to become the medium of cooperation between the blockchain community and global cybersecurity experts, whose expertise is based on the real life defense and penetrations. We already prototyped our solution among the finalists of HackIT Cup competition that took place in Ukraine three weeks ago. The target audience were the best global hackers according to various ratings. The response was mostly positive and encouraging.
Hacken is originally custom-tailored for blockchain: we will use smart contracts when we sign agreements with clients for the bug bounty and HackenProof vulnerability reports data will be stored in blockchain to preserve its integrity.
For white hats the benefits are obvious: it’s the possibility to apply their talents on the “bright” side of the firewall securing constant increase of their income thanks to the ‘burning principle’ that we invented to assure HKNs continuous increase in liquidity. The mere existence of the burning principle is enabled by blockchain and would have been impossible without it.
What key problems does your system solve?
Today the supply of сybersecurity services fails to meet the demand. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cumulative global spending on cybersecurity products and services will be more than $1 trillion over the next five years. Furthermore, the firm predicts $6 trillion in cybercrime damages annually by 2021. While there are hundreds of cybersecurity firms providing traditional penetration tests and security audits done by a limited number of in house specialists, Hacken is backed up by a powerful community of white hat hackers offering the highest flexibility and availability on the market. This is exactly the case when crowd and decentralization provide excellence.
With Hacken we are solving disbalance between black hat and white hat hackers in Eastern Europe by providing transparent and legitimate means of income for hackers who are very effective, but currently might be working on the other side of the firewall. We are also creating one of Europe’s first white hacker platforms. And Europe definitely deserves one.
Why is it necessary to implement blockchain protocols in order to solve the problem you mention above?
Blockchain truly helps to verify zones of responsibility for the vulnerability that is discovered. Here is the detailed procedure of how proof of vulnerability testing is conducted:
When clients sign the bug bounty program agreement, Hacken team creates a relevant blockchain block containing data about the product, the terms of service agreement and a timestamp. The next block of the chain, which is specific to this client, will contain information on vulnerabilities, discovered during the Hacken security research.
After clients resolve the vulnerabilities that were discovered during the bug bounty research, HackenProof experts conduct a post-research audit. We then discuss our findings with the clients and advise any additional measures which need to be taken. Should the findings of the audit be satisfactory to both parties, our team and the clients, we form the next block in the chain, which contains information about the issues that were resolved.
At the end, clients receive a HackenProof Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures Certificate, containing a report on all the vulnerabilities discovered and resolved with a timestamp for each event. Clients can then adjust their Blockchain sharing preferences and publish the certificate to the public, customers, investors or to whomever they designate.
Describe each main category of people involved in this ecosystem and respectively why they would want to spend and/or hold the HKN token.
Community members and customers: the longer they are tight with the currency, the more services within the bug bounty program they will be able to purchase.
White hat hackers: they can both invest in this cryptocurrency to earn on its future rise in price, and constantly obtain new currency incomings in the form of fees paid for their services, which are penetration testing and finding vulnerabilities.
How will the HKN token flow within your ecosyste? What is the advantage of having your own token on the HKN platform as opposed to completing payments in ETH or BTC?
Having received a payment in HKN, a community member can either cash-out, or hold on to it waiting for the price increase, or purchase services within the system.
Our mission is creating a decentralized community of white hat hackers supported by its own cryptocurrency – HKN. Being a utility token inside the Hacken Ecosystem, its price is market-regulated and doesn’t depend on other cryptocurrencies. Additionally we will regulate its price through the burning principle to increase its liquidity and lower volatility risks. To be more specific, on average Hacken will charge 30% fee for each transaction. Half of it will be accumulated for development of the platform, and the other half will be removed from the system or ‘burned’. This approach will expedite the increase of liquidity, and lower the volatility risks for HKN. In other words, the amount of Hackens revolving in the system will be constantly reducing, thereby, bringing more value for its holders including Investors and White Hat Hackers. Additionally, the amount of HKN in the system is limited to 20 mln with no future emissions.
While HKN can be easily traded to ETH/BTC at any moment, in the long run, the longer community members are tight with the currency, the more services within the bug bounty program they will be able to purchase. Hackers can also invest in this cryptocurrency to earn on its future rise in price. Secondly, they can constantly obtain new currency incomings in the form of fees paid for their services, which are penetration testing and finding vulnerabilities.
HKN Token Sale Details
The Hacken Token sale will begin on October 31st and last 1 month. There will be a total supply of 20 million HKN tokens, 1.3 Million of which were supplied during the presale (1 million plus 30% bonuses). The other 18.7 million will be released during the token sale beginning at the end of this month.
The initial price for 1 HKN is $1 in fiat equivalent. The minimum amount to be purchased is an equivalent of 1 ETH. The currencies to be accepted are BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, USD, EUR, TaaS. 80% of the funds raised are kept in an escrow account. Additionally, Hacken has already established several strategic partnerships including TaaS Fund, Confideal, Neuromation and SmartOne.