Yahoo Bounty Program Launched After Embarrassing T-Shirt-Gate Incident

Yahoo! is finally offering a bounty to hackers. The company announced on Thursday that it would pay up to $1500 to programmers who discover security leaks in the company’s various web-based platforms.

The move is a big pivot for Yahoo! after the company came under fire this week when it gave a bug discovering tech company a $12.50 voucher. The voucher was only good for products located inside Yahoo’s own online store.

Oh Thursday Yahoo! officials said the bounty program launch has been in the works for a while. The company decided to fast-track the service following what is now being called “t-shirt-gate.”

Yahoo’s security team director Ramses Martinez wrote a blog post titled “So I’m the guy who sent the t-shirt out as a thank you.” In his post Martinez admitted to the voucher but also said he has always sent out t-shirts and thank you notes as a personal touch. According to Martinez:

“It wasn’t a policy, I just thought it would be nice to do something beyond an email.” He then adds, “I even bought the shirts with my own money. It wasn’t about the money, just a personal gesture on my behalf

While Yahoo! will no longer hand out T-shirts for bug discoveries, they will offer rewards that range from $150 to $1500.

Along with sending money and a thank you letter the online giant will also name researchers to its “hall of fame” when they find serious bugs in Yahoo!’s systems.

The so-called bounty programs have been around for a while now but have not always worked as planned. As previously reported a Palestinian Hacker was ignored by Facebook executives and ended up hacking MarSet featured imagek Zuckerberg’s timeline. Facebook said because the ignored hacker breached an actual users account he would not be paid. That hacker went on to receive more than $11000 from a crowdsourced campaign.

In the meantime t-shirt-gate company High-Tech Bridge says it will donate any possible money it now receives from Yahoo! to charity.