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HackerOne launches AWS certification paths, pen testing service

A select group of penetration testers in HackerOne's community will be able to obtain three AWS certifications, including the Security - Specialty certification.

HackerOne introduced new penetration testing initiatives for AWS that include both a service and certification opportunities for ethical hackers.

On Wednesday, the vulnerability reporting and bug bounty vendor announced it will sponsor members of its vetted pen tester community to earn existing AWS certifications. The community consists of ethical hackers who, in exchange for monetary awards, report findings to HackerOne, which are then added to a vulnerability database. That database, which documents thousands of vulnerabilities, is used by organizations in several sectors to assess and mitigate risk.

Preselected participants can choose from three AWS certifications: Cloud Practitioner, Architect Solutions - Associate level, and Security - Specialty. Pen testers can achieve at least two of the offered certifications in "cohort-driven" educational activities, according to HackerOne's announcement, and will receive scholarship funds equal to the exam costs. HackerOne Founder and CTO Alex Rice told SearchSecurity these certifications will improve the effectiveness of HackerOne pen testers working with AWS customers and expand their skill sets.

Rice said HackerOne preselects and vets its members for every pen testing engagement, and this program is no different. Candidates of its existing pen test community were selected for this AWS certifications path.

"This, ultimately, means we now have a dedicated pool of pen testers with AWS certifications to select from for our customers that also use AWS," Rice wrote in an email to SearchSecurity.

In tandem with that goal, HackerOne's new Application Pentest for AWS is tailored specifically for applications deployed in AWS. The service is designed to discover risks specific to an organization's AWS environment using top cloud vulnerabilities found on its platform to help "prevent data leaks, subdomain takeovers, unauthorized access to applications and more," according to HackerOne. With the new service, the company hopes to expand effectiveness in quickly identifying AWS application vulnerabilities.

The certification paths and pen testing services are the latest additions to HackerOne's existing relationship with AWS. The cloud computing giant launched a bug bounty and vulnerability reporting program with HackerOne in April 2020.

In addition to the pen testing initiatives, HackerOne announced its platform is now integrated with AWS Security Hub, a management service for customers that automates best practices and remediations. The integration is designed to create a unified system where vulnerability remediation times are shortened and bug reports and threat intelligence are routed more quickly to AWS, improving visibility for customers.

UPDATE 8/26: Ryan Broadwell, AWS' global director, ISVs, said in a statement to SearchSecurity that the company partnered with HackerOne to "address the need for accessible, flexible, and continuous validation of vulnerabilities." He added that ethical hackers on HackerOne have in the past helped identify applications vulnerabilities for AWS customers, and the current three-pronged initiative is designed to build off that success.

"The goal for hackers is to find weaknesses that are highly impactful, and the platform incentivizes them to avoid creating "noise" with false positives—a significant problem with automation. In addition to HackerOne's reputation system, it also develops an accurate picture of a hacker's expertise so they can be hand-picked for certain programs," Broadwell said in the statement. "To take HackerOne's existing offering and extend it to focus more on AWS, there was a three-pronged strategy. First, create a pathway for hackers to validate their knowledge of AWS so that our customers know they are getting an expert's review.

"Next, create a standardized approach to testing AWS workloads that focuses on proper configurations and application-specific issues so that our customers know the review is comprehensive. And finally, integrate HackerOne's platform with AWS Security Hub so that any weaknesses that hackers find get top-level visibility alongside the findings from our native security services and other partners."

Broadwell also said the initiatives were the beginning of a long-term relationship with HackerOne and that AWS will explore opportunities to expand review coverage and Security Hub integrations.

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