5 Ways Bug Bounty Initiatives Can Improve Healthcare Security


Teams are frequently understaffed, are playing catch-up with a constant onslaught of threats and vulnerabilities, and are tasked with securing legacy devices from the 1990s, all while providing support for other innovative health system teams that are setting new standards in the architecture of data analytics solutions and the development of patient-facing applications to provide a customer-friendly healthcare experience improve healthcare security.

You can’t possibly get it all done in a year, much alone a day. Putting in place bug reward programs might pay benefits in this regard, lightening the load while increasing the effectiveness of security monitoring.


The right execution of a bug bounty program may successfully crowdsource security research and testing services, leading to the discovery of exploitable vulnerabilities in the wild. In a nutshell, the tool provides a controlled and limited environment in which researchers may look for vulnerabilities in the system that might be utilized for malicious purposes to improve healthcare security.

There may be rankings, swag, or monetary payments of several hundred to several thousand dollars attached to some of these possibilities as a means of incentivizing the researchers to take part. Rarely, although it does happen, certain bounties may pay over a million dollars.

Bug bounties are not…

Nevertheless, a vulnerability program, which often focuses on patchable or remediable flaws, is different from a bug reward program. Although a bug bounty may be able to help fix these types of vulnerabilities, a good security program should include the scanning tools necessary to find them in the first place.

Nonetheless, it might be useful to tap into the bug bounty community to discover security flaws that traditional vulnerability scanners miss, such as those in log4j.

A bug bounty program is not the same as a penetration test, which has time and damage limits built into its design. Although a pentest and a bug bounty program may have some similarities, the main difference is that the former only pays the researcher when the problem is located, confirmed, and reported according to the program’s standards, while the latter is usually compensated regardless of what it turns up & improve healthcare security.

Dangers of Bug Bounty Programs

Managing a bug bounty program presents a number of difficulties, the most of which are of a scoping nature. Some of the most common traps are listed here to improve healthcare security.

Poorly defined objectives. Researchers will test everything without limits, which might disrupt operations and even affect patient care if the bug prize is not properly scoped to improve healthcare security. For instance, a study may include evaluating a real-world patient portal, disabling a vital interface for patient care, or focusing on a product from a competing company. It is recommended that a separate network or test environment be established before launching a bug bounty program.


insufficiently broad definition of the scope of the vulnerability. Lack of clarity on the categories of vulnerabilities that need to be reported may rapidly overload the security team and have the opposite of the desired effect. It is recommended to only accept issues that can be exploited with functioning samples once all out-of-scope vulnerabilities have been listed (there are several such lists available).

Inadequate scalability of resources for researchers. When first establishing a bug bounty program, it is best to take baby steps before speeding up to full speed. There will be many unnecessary reports and that will hurt the program’s credibility if the gates are opened too quickly and widely improve healthcare security. For these and other reasons, it might be beneficial to outsource the software at first before bringing it in-house at a later date.

The healthcare industry may benefit greatly from bug bounty programs in five ways:

1. Mobile software aimed towards the patient market.

Patient-facing applications are great for bug bounty testing, whether you’re an app provider or a healthcare firm with development staff. As APIs are a major security hole in many mobile applications will help to improve healthcare security, it is important to create a test environment with a test application and welcome researchers to help strengthen the security of these apps.

2. Online software.

It’s common for bug bounties to be centered on web-based software. Although many of them are customer-facing online apps marketed for a fee, the same security flaws also affect custom-developed programs used in marketing and market research.

3. Choose a reliable outside provider.

The benefits of bug bounty programs extend beyond internal usage; they may also be factored in during the evaluation of a system’s level of security helps to improve healthcare security. A bug bounty program is evidence that the product has an established, ongoing, crowdsourced vulnerable detection and repair mechanism and that the solution provider has faith in the program. Also, if your security staff is competent, it provides them with a target for doing their own security tests.

4. Telemedicine Application Admin Portal Sustained XSS Attack

A P2 vulnerability existed in the targeted telemedicine program, which would have given an attacker complete administrative privileges.

Web-based EMR with a P2 level issue may be exploited to access patient data from other organizations housed on the EMR system, including the ability to create, update, and delete records without the appropriate permissions to improve healthcare security.

Online pharmacy prescription creation and viewing by unauthorized users. P2 vulnerability in the online pharmacy that might be used to inject prescriptions into the accounts of other users.


Server for a Help Desk With Root Access to improve healthcare security. This is a critical vulnerability (P1) because it might be used to obtain complete control of the server the application is hosted on.

5. Injection of SAML Takes Control of Email Encryption Service.

A P1 vulnerability exists in the way SAML settings are added, which may give an attacker control of an encrypted email service and its whole authentication system.

Using the hundreds of researchers that actively engage in bug bounty programs does need some organization and administration, but there is little question that doing so will advance the status of your security program to improve healthcare security.

A little bit of pressure on solution suppliers who are ready to use crowdsourcing security inspection might improve healthcare security one issue at a time, even if your business isn’t.


In conclusion, bug bounty initiatives present a valuable opportunity to bolster healthcare security in numerous ways. By incentivizing ethical hackers to actively search for vulnerabilities, these initiatives help identify weaknesses that may otherwise go undetected. Through the collaborative efforts of security experts and healthcare organizations, bug bounty programs foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that healthcare systems remain resilient against emerging threats. Embracing bug bounty initiatives is a proactive step towards ensuring the security and integrity of healthcare systems, ultimately benefiting both healthcare providers and patients alike.

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