HackerOne CEO: Every computer system is subject to vulnerabilities

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White-hat hackers 'like a neighborhood watch': Hacker One CEO

Mårten Mickos, HackerOne CEO, discusses his company's ethicial, white hat hacking strategy to help find vulnerabilities in the systems of corporate and government clients.

White hat hackers 'like a neighborhood watch': Hacker One CEO
White-hat hackers 'like a neighborhood watch': Hacker One CEO 2 Hours Ago | 02:28

Every computer system in the world is vulnerable to hackers and criminals, according to Marten Mickos, CEO of HackerOne. That's nothing new with major data breaches at Yahoo and the federal government.

But not to worry, teams of ethical hackers could be an answer to the growing cybersecurity concerns.

"There are far more ethical hackers, white hat hackers, in the world than criminals," Mickos told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Thursday. "So when you just invite the good guys to help you, you will always be safe. It's like a neighborhood watch. You're asking the good guys around you to help you see what's wrong with your system and help you fix it."

Mickos has assembled 70,000 white hat hackers in his venture-backed company HackerOne. He explains the intent of white hat hackers is to hack for good and not for exploitation.

"This is something society desperately needs," he said. "We gather the best hackers in the world and we invite them to hack you and report the vulnerabilities back to the companies, or the federal agencies who need to know where their vulnerabilities are."

With clients such as General Motors, Uber and Twitter, Mickos also was asked about the security of the government's systems.

"The government actually is in the forefront now, running background programs and improving their system," Mickos said. "Given that they come from a world with old systems, it's impressive with what they've done in just the past two years."

The government has also expressed optimism about white hat hackers. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the Department of Defense, held a challenge in August for hackers to create a code that could search for vulnerabilities, find and patch them on its own, otherwise, artificial intelligence.

Mickos says it'll be probably be a long time before we see AI play a major role in the world of hacking.

However, he encouraged further AI innovation, saying, "Ultimately, there will be so many computers, so many computer systems that we will need to have other computer systems policing them and finding the vulnerabilities."



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