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Bug Bounty Hunting 101: An Introduction for Beginners


Bug bounty hunting, as the name suggests, is an activity where you hunt for bugs (look for security vulnerabilities) in software applications, websites, and systems and report them to the company or organization running the bounty program.

In layman's terms, it's like being a digital detective who finds hidden weaknesses in code, helps improve security, and gets paid for it. Yep, you read that right. It's a legal way to earn money online using your hacking skills without the FBI knocking on your door.

FBI Meme

How to Start?

Well, I'm going to give you a glimpse of how to become a bug bounty hunter, but for further details, you'll need to purchase my $999 course where you'll get generic information that’s available on the internet for free. 😶

Just kidding! I’m not a YouTuber. 🗣️

Anyway, please read the rest of this guide with patience, without simply scrolling away, and you might gain some new information and perhaps enlightenment. This guide will cover how to acquire knowledge using resources from the internet and books, and crucially, how to apply that knowledge practically at each step.

So, let's begin...

Step 1: Foundation in Computer Science and Networking

"Crawl before you walk."

Before you dive into the digital bug battlefield, remember: a solid grasp of computer science and networking basics is your armor. Rest assured, I've got you covered.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

Key Concepts: Study IP addressing, DNS, TCP/IP, HTTP/HTTPS, firewalls, and VPNs.

Practice: Set up simple networking labs using tools like Cisco Packet Tracer or GNS3.

Step 2: Understand Web Technologies

“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” – Tim Berners-Lee

Next, you'll need to understand how websites work. This knowledge is crucial since most bug bounty programs are centered around web applications.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

  • "Eloquent JavaScript" by Marijn Haverbeke: An excellent introduction to JavaScript and modern web development practices.

Key Concepts: Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Client-Server Model.

Practice: Create small web projects to apply your learning, such as a basic website or web app.

Step 3: Learn Programming and Scripting

"Code is poetry."

Bug bounty hunting frequently requires the creation of scripts to assess applications. Python is an excellent language for beginners in this field.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

Projects: Automate repetitive tasks you encounter daily, such as file management or web scraping.

Step 4: Master Cybersecurity Basics

Being aware of common vulnerabilities and their exploitation methods is crucial in the field of bug bounty hunting.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

Practice: Use platforms like OWASP WebGoat and DVWA (Damn Vulnerable Web Application) to practice finding and exploiting vulnerabilities.

Step 5: Dive into Ethical Hacking

Now, it’s time to get your hands dirty with some real ethical hacking.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

Practice: Apply techniques on vulnerable VMs from VulnHub or try exercises on Hack The Box and TryHackMe.

Step 6: Study Vulnerability Types

Learn about real-world vulnerabilities by reading and understanding case studies.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

Practice: Try to replicate similar findings on public bug bounty programs or in your lab environment (more on this below).

Step 7: Hands-On Practice

Put everything you’ve learned into practice by participating in Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

  • "Hacking: The Art of Exploitation" by Jon Erickson: An in-depth exploration of hacking techniques with a focus on hands-on practice and understanding the underlying principles.

Practice: Regularly participate in CTFs (Capture The Flag) and practical hacking challenges.

Step 8: Develop Reporting Skills

Learning how to write clear and detailed reports is crucial for bug bounty success.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

  • "The Art of Software Security Assessment" by Mark Dowd, John McDonald, and Justin Schuh: A detailed guide on how to assess software security, including how to document and report findings effectively.

Practice: Dedicate time each day to reading reports to grasp the elements of a well-crafted report. Engage in regular practice by writing comprehensive reports on vulnerabilities discovered during your practice sessions.

Step 9: Build a Home Lab (Optional)

Establish a home lab to hone your ethical hacking skills without legal risks. You can also revisit your previous resources for further practice.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

  • "Linux Basics for Hackers" by OccupyTheWeb: A guide to setting up and using Linux for hacking purposes, including setting up a lab environment.

Practice: Create a series of vulnerable machines to practice on.

Step 10: Stay Updated

The world of cybersecurity is always evolving. Stay informed by following industry blogs and news.

Online Resources:

Practice: Spend 15-30 minutes daily reading articles.

Step 11: Legal and Ethical Considerations

Understanding the legal and ethical aspects of hacking is crucial. You must know what you are dealing with.

Online Resources:

Recommended Book:

  • "Cybersecurity Ethics" by Mary Manjikian: A comprehensive overview of the ethical and legal issues surrounding cybersecurity and hacking.

Practice: Always refer back to this knowledge when engaging in bug bounty hunting or ethical hacking activities.

Step 12: Continuous Learning and Networking

Online communities where cybersecurity professionals discuss trends and share knowledge. It connects you with like-minded individuals and professionals.

Online Resources:

Practice: Participate in discussions and attend webinars regularly.

Step 13: Start Hunting

Finally, put your skills to the test by joining bug bounty programs.


  • HackerOne
  • Bugcrowd

  • What are these?: Platforms where companies offer bounties for finding security vulnerabilities.

  • Why they're great?: They provide real-world hunting opportunities and payouts.

  • How to use them?: Start small, submit reports, and learn from feedback.


To be a successful bug bounty hunter, you must transform yourself into a person of focus, commitment, and sheer will.

Nah, you don't need to be John Wick.

All it takes is dedication and sticking to the plan. I've provided you with a rough idea of how your journey might unfold. This guide doesn't cover every detail since each step deserves its own article, but you'll learn them on your own, and that will make your learning journey more enjoyable (I sound crazy, I know).

It will be full of obstacles, as you must break free from the matrix to buy your colorful Bugatti (Spoiler Alert: Some Wholesome Angry Tourists might visit you if you don't follow the rules).

So, gear up, start learning, and happy hunting!

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—or in this case, a single bug!

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