A Whistledown Exclusive: Netflix’s Journey to One Million in Bug Bounty and Beyond

Netflix Technology Blog
3 min readMay 28, 2024

by Lakshmi Sudheer

At Netflix, our mission is to entertain the world, and with over 270 million subscribers, ensuring a secure experience is crucial. Since launching our bounty program in 2016, we’ve worked diligently to protect our users by discovering and addressing potential vulnerabilities. Today, we’re excited to announce a significant milestone: the Netflix bug bounty program has now paid over One Million USD ($1,000,000) in rewards.

Since 2016, :

  • 5,630 unique researchers have contributed to the program
  • Received 7,971 non-duplicate reports
  • Rewarded 845 valid vulnerabilities
  • ~ 26% of the valid reports were of Critical or High Severity

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our researchers and their invaluable contributions that made this possible. Their efforts have significantly strengthened Netflix’s security posture.

Our Commitment: Partnership & Transparency

We view our relationship with the security research community as a partnership with a shared goal of securing Netflix. Therefore, we’ve crafted our processes to align with the core values researchers appreciate in a bug bounty program:

  • Transparency
  • Proactive Prompt Communication
  • Competitive Bounty Range
  • Pay-on triage

We also ensure that the bounty reflects the full impact of identified vulnerabilities and reward a bounty or points when we make a risk-impacting change, even if they don’t directly qualify under our standard rewards criteria.

One recent example of this is when we received a report about request smuggling on a production instance. Upon investigation, we discovered that this was not a case of true request smuggling as the body received from the subsequent attacker request is discarded and never passed upstream for parsing. The extent of the impact of this vulnerability was limited to the ability to induce errors and hence classified as a P4. This did not meet our standard rewards criteria. However, we decided to patch the firmware & also discovered four other instances that could also use an update during our internal research. We transparently shared our findings with the researcher and awarded a bounty covering all four instances as these changes were made based on their report, despite the issue not posing a severe security risk.

This engagement model of exploring the full impact of vulnerability & transparency has helped us resolve the issues more efficiently and foster a strong and productive relationship with the community.

Looking Ahead: New Platform, New Opportunities

As we transition to a new platform on HackerOne, we plan to elevate Netflix’s bug bounty experience. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming your way:

  • Enhanced Triage
  • Increased Bounty Ranges
  • Expanded Scope
  • More Promotions & Spot Checks
  • Exclusive Private Programs
  • Researcher Feedback Loops
  • And many other program enhancements…

Get ready for an unparalleled experience with bigger rewards and endless opportunities to shine designed to keep you on your toes.

Meet the Team in Las Vegas

But wait that’s not all — we’re ramping up our engagement with the researcher community. Look out for an event from the Netflix Security team in Las Vegas during Hacker Summer Camp, where we’ll connect more closely with our security researcher community. It’s onward and upward to a bigger and better bug bounty program, and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it!

Join Us

If all of this sounds exciting and you want to join us in our mission to secure Netflix, we invite you to visit our new program page at hackerone.com/netflix. Here, you can find detailed information on how to get involved and contribute to our program.

A Heartfelt Thank You!

As we celebrate these accomplishments, we remain committed to the ongoing journey of crowdsourced security. We are thankful for the continuous support of the security researcher community.

Join us in securing Netflix! Visit hackerone.com/netflix to get involved.

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