An exploratory study of white hat behaviors in a web vulnerability disclosure program

Mingyi Zhao, Jens Grossklags, Kai Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


White hats are making significant contributions to cybersecurity by submitting vulnerability discovery reports to public vulnerability disclosure programs and company-initiated vulnerability reward programs. In this paper, we study white hat behaviors by analyzing a 3.5-year dataset which documents the contributions of 3254 white hats and their submitted 16446 Web vulnerability reports. Our dataset is collected from Wooyun, the predominant Web vulnerability disclosure program in China. We first show that Wooyun is continuously attracting new contributors from the white hat community. We then examine white hats' contributions along several dimensions. In particular, we provide evidence about the diversity inside Wooyun's white hat community and discuss the importance of this diversity for vulnerability discovery. Our results suggest that more participation, and thereby more diversity, contributes to higher productivity of the vulnerability discovery process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Issue numberNovember
StatePublished - Nov 7 2014
Event2014 ACM Workshop on Security Information Workers, SIW 2014 - Co-located with CCS 2014 - Scottsdale, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2014 → …

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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