Introducing Private Internet Access’ Bug Bounty for VPN Vulnerabilities

Posted on Oct 27, 2022 by Julia Olech
Image of PIA laptop under magnifying glass

Private Internet Access’ main mission has always been to create a safe internet where you can browse, stream, game, download, and anything in between without privacy concerns. We’ve worked tirelessly to expand our services and improve VPN features while maintaining a high level of transparency. 

We stand by our product and do everything we can to prove it to you. Just recently, Deloitte inspected PIA’s server network as part of an independent audit. For us, it’s just the beginning.

Our vulnerability disclosure program has already given us an insight into how we can improve PIA to become the top-quality VPN it is today. We love seeing you get involved, and appreciate every bit of feedback we receive. Now, we’re taking it one step further with a bug bounty program that’s open to the wider public

The program allows white-hat hackers, researchers, and bounty hunters to submit vulnerability reports in exchange for a financial reward. PIA sorts its bug bounties into 4 phases with varying monetary incentives, with the top one cashing in at $1250.

We’re excited to see what you come up with and look forward to working with you.

What Is PIA’s Bug Bounty Program?

A bug bounty program is a reward system available to anyone who finds and reports security vulnerabilities within our system. It allows cybersecurity researchers and enthusiasts to test our apps and network for possible entry points cybercriminals might be able to exploit.  

If you have a valid exploit, you can use our designated platform, BugCrowd, to report the vulnerability. This report is first sent to BugCrowd’s security team for validation and approval. Then, our security tribe receives it for review. In exchange for this information, you receive a financial incentive.

Laptop free of bugs

Despite popular belief, companies don’t use bug bounties because their infrastructure lacks security — quite the opposite. Only businesses with the highest levels of cybersecurity open themselves to the public and look for additional verification from external experts.

How Bug Bounties Benefit Private Internet Access (and You)

PIA’s bug bounty is a win-win. It has multiple benefits for everyone involved:

  • It helps us identify and patch up more potential vulnerabilities in less time.
  • It allows more people to test our open-source code, which means weak points have fewer chances of sneaking through checks.
  • It’s a chance for talented ethical hackers and researchers to showcase their skills, and for us to get external feedback on our security stack.
  • It offers financial rewards of up to $1250 per valid bounty report.

How to Get the Bug Bounty Awards

To cash in a bug bounty award, you need to find and submit a security issue that falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Unlicensed access to our VPN servers
  2. Remote Code Execution (RCE)
  3. VPN server vulnerabilities allowing third-party monitoring or leaking user data

Only the first person who submits a certain valid vulnerability receives a monetary reward.

Our Continued Commitment to Your Privacy

PIA’s mission is clear: we aim to help you browse the internet without limitations or security issues. Over the past 10 years, we’ve worked hard to improve our VPN features and increase customer satisfaction. Our most recent developments include:

  • Undergoing an independent audit by Deloitte which reviewed PIA’s server network and management systems.
  • Upgrading to colocated, NextGen servers. These are owned and managed exclusively by PIA and they have ultra-fast 10Gbps network adapters.
  • Employing a fully open-source VPN protocol, WireGuard®, to enhance our transparency and streamline VPN speeds.
  • Expanding our library of dedicated IP addresses in the US, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.
  • Removing physical servers from India and switching to virtual locations to avoid legal obligations to store your data.

Our service is constantly evolving as we continuously strive to make PIA the best VPN it can be. Head to our VPN download page to try PIA for yourself, and don’t forget to keep an eye out on our GitHub repository for future updates.