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Hackers exploit the lucrative software vulnerability trade

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Hacker (STOCK)
Hacker (STOCK)

Once freely exposed or given to software makers at no cost, the business of finding and documenting security vulnerabilities has evolved into a lucrative business that supports companies and freelance hackers around the globe. In a New York Times profile, reporters Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger explore the newly-legitimized hacker underworld, where a valuable zero-day exploit in Windows, Linux, or iOS can earn a payday of five or even six figures — and many of the customers are government agencies, including the United States' NSA. The business has become so refined that brokers have started popping up, intermediating deals between hackers and buyers for a cut of the revenue. Software makers — most recently Microsoft — have started paying big dollars to compete with the black market, but it might not be enough in an industry where entire nations, constantly looking for the upper hand in cyberwarfare, are in play. Head over to the NYT for the full story.