Governance & Risk Management , Security Operations , Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing (VA/PT)

Bugcrowd Buys Informer to Enhance Attack Surface Management

First Purchase in Bugcrowd's History to Boost Attack Surface Management, Visibility
Bugcrowd Buys Informer to Enhance Attack Surface Management
Dave Gerry, CEO, Bugcrowd (Image: Bugcrowd)

Bugcrowd purchased an external attack surface management vendor led by a former NTT and BT executive to give customers more visibility into their digital assets.

See Also: Webinar | 2023 OT Cybersecurity Year in Review: Lessons Learned from the Frontlines

The San Francisco-based, crowdsourced security provider said its acquisition of Brighton, England-based Informer will fuel adoption of Bugcrowd's penetration testing technology and prompt clients to expand the scope of their bug bounty programs, according to CEO Dave Gerry. Informer's technology is for sale immediately via Bugcrowd, and Gerry expects the integration to be complete by the end of September.

"What should customers be looking at in terms of bug bounty scope? What should they be doing pen testing on? What should they be including in their vulnerability disclosure program? It very quickly became evident that this was a gap that we had on our platform that we wanted to go solve," Gerry told Information Security Media Group."

Informer was founded in 2014 and has been led since inception by Marios Kyriacou, who previously led security testing at NTT Data and was involved with penetration testing at BT. All 15 of Informer's employees have joined Bugcrowd. Kyriacou has joining the product management team to oversee the development of attack surface management capabilities within the company's platform (see: Bugcrowd Attains $102M Strategic Growth Funding Round).

From Crowdsourced Security to Crowdsourced Intelligence

Informer's ability to identify potential brand impersonations and commitment to going beyond simple DNS scans provide a unique edge over other commercial scanners, which Gerry said will help Bugcrowd clients better understand their attack surface and secure their perimeter more effectively. Informer's capabilities will be crucial for customers in sectors such as healthcare that rely heavily on third-party assets.

"These folks have a bit more intelligence flowing into that scanning around how they're looking at other feeds and other sources of data in addition to just what they're seeing from a scanning capability standpoint," Gerry said.

The acquisition aligns with Bugcrowd's broader strategy of transforming from a crowdsourced security company to a crowdsourced intelligence company by offering clients more proactive insights and ways to improve their security posture, according to Gerry. He said bringing Bugcrowd and Informer together will enable more comprehensive reporting and analytics by putting more information on one platform (see: It's OpenAI Season for Bug Hunting).

"Every single piece of the business has digitized overnight, and IT and security lost control of that very quickly," Gerry said.

Gerry said the rapid digitization of business processes has led to different departments independently creating digital assets without centralized oversight, creating challenges around visibility. The lack of full visibility into digital assets leads to companies having incomplete scopes for their bug bounty and pen testing programs, and Bugcrowd wanted a way to help clients define what actually falls in scope.

"This now enables customers to understand, 'Maybe we should have a much bigger scope,' which in turn empowers crowdsourced hackers to have more earning opportunities and ultimately drive more value in identifying vulnerabilities for customers," Gerry said.

What a Successful Acquisition Looks Like

Through its integration of Informer, Gerry said, Bugcrowd plans to help customers avoid the need for multiple logins and give them consolidated reporting and scanning capabilities on a single platform. Informer's focus on the United Kingdom and healthcare organizations aligns well with Bugcrowd's European expansion plans and strength in the financial services and technology verticals, he said.

"The last thing any of these customers want is yet another portal, yet another platform to have them log into," Gerry said. "As an industry, we've given them plenty of those. So, now it's just about, 'How do we make this easier and embed ourselves into the workflow that they've already got?'"

Clients typically pay between $20,000 and $50,000 annually for Informer's attack surface management capabilities, depending on the size of their estate, according to Gerry. The first acquisition in Bugcrowd's 13-year history comes just three months after the company completed a $102 million funding round, and Gerry expects Bugcrowd to make more acquisitions to boost its tech capabilities and market reach.

Key metrics for evaluating the success of the acquisition include hitting integration milestones, adoption rates by existing customers, customer retention and the smooth integration of Informer employees into Bugcrowd, according to Gerry. He said Informer's technology is suitable for large enterprise customers given the platform's speed and scalability in providing visibility into large and complex web properties.

"The scalability of the platform was phenomenal," Gerry said. "We were running some really large, really complex web properties and applications through it and very quickly were able to get visibility into what that attack surface looked like."

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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