Interview with Crowdcurity: Crowd Sourced Web Security

September 28, 2014 01:00 UTC

There currently exists a crowdsourced web security platform called Crowdcurity that allows businesses to pay for security services in bitcoin and links these businesses with security researchers from all around the planet. While attending the Cryptolina Bitcoin conference last month in North Carolina, I had the chance to meet Jacob Hansen, one of the guys behind it, and ask him a few questions.

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Interview with CrowdCurity

What is CrowdCurity and how was it formed?

CrowdCurity is a crowdsourced web security platform. We connect +1500 security researchers with businesses all around the world. We do everything from traditional penetration testing to full fledged open bug bounty programs. Everything is on pay-per-bug basis so businesses don’t have to pay for security consultants putting in hours but no value. We focus on security of bitcoin web applications and have done security testing of the largest bitcoin exchanges and wallets in the industry.

CrowdCurity was founded a year ago by Christian Hansen, Jakob Storm, Esben Friis-Jensen and myself. We joined Boost.vc in November 2013 and over the summer 2014 we closed our seed round with investment from Tim Draper, Kima Ventures, 500Startups and security angels like Gerhard Eschelbeck.

What is your professional background?

I have a Business and Finance background from Copenhagen Business School and UCLA. After university I did IT consulting with Accenture for a couple of years working with some of the largest companies in the world. It was also at Accenture I met Esben. Though for the last couple of years I’ve mostly been coding and playing around with bitcoin related stuff. I got into bitcoin mid 2011 and remember the first Mt. Gox hack which was one of the inspirations to do something about security in the bitcoin space. Overall my background has given me a pretty good mix between technology side and business side of things.

What are you currently busy with?

We have a couple of bitcoin related projects that I’m currently working with. We are launching these during the fall of 2014 so I’m very excited about that. Earlier this year we launched Capture the Coin which is a contest for security researchers to find bitcoin private keys hidden directly in our website. We are experimenting with how to use bitcoin to improve our own security and enhance our product.

Also, I spend a lot of time on hiring, recruiting, strategy and marketing. Bug bounty and security has changed completely in the last twelve months. Especially the bitcoin industry has changed significantly. So there is no guarantee that how things are today is going to be like this in six or twelve months – trying to see what the trajectories are and making CrowdCurity well positioned for that is something I’m always thinking about.

What is your vision for CrowdCurity?

So the long term vision and goal is to basically make web security a human to human experience. Security professionals within a businesses should work directly with security researchers outside the business on improving the security of their website. We basically want to decentralise web security and take away the barriers to entry which traditionally meant that web security was something for enterprises where you called out the local security consultancy every three months. This world has now changed and we see a wave of smaller and more agile businesses popping up, especially within the bitcoin sphere, and these businesses need new and more flexible security solutions in order to stay ahead of the bad guys. We live in such a fast paced world where things change over a weekend, three months is just too long of a wait for your security.

“Bitcoin,” concludes Jacob,  “and in particular the blockchain, is one of those fundamental inventions which will completely change how we think and do web security. For the first time we now have digital assets directly in the browser which are highly liquid and valuable. We are not used to this and it has to some extend exposed how bad traditional online security is. Within the bitcoin sphere we have seen many new innovations to address this, and we are seeing bitcoin businesses pioneering new web security solutions and pushing everything forward.”

Check out the website here.

Images from Shutterstock.

Last modified: September 28, 2014 15:26 UTC

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