Image of SRT Ozgur
08 June 2021

$1 Million, One Journey: The Story of Ӧzgür Alp

Synack

2020 was full of world-shaking events – wildfires, pandemics, and locust swarms included. With 2021 well underway and a positive outlook here at Synack, we wanted to share an amazing accomplishment from one of the Synack Red Team’s best! Ӧzgür Alp, a security researcher on the Synack Red Team (SRT) and member of the Synack Envoy, has earned $1 million on our platform. To congratulate him for this milestone, we sat down with him for an interview on his life and cybersecurity journey. Read on to learn more about Ӧzgür!

Every person has a well of untapped potential waiting inside for someone or something to unleash it. For Ӧzgür, that something was an open position for a junior ethical hacker in Turkey eight years ago. 

In the podcast, he tells us that “…[a company was] looking for people starting out in the field to train…” While working there, he spent his days communicating with clients, finding vulnerabilities, and writing reports. From there, he kept learning new things and expanding his skills, eventually earning his spot on the SRT. Now, he spends his days traveling the world, working on hobbies, and, of course, bug bounty hunting. 

When asked what a day in his life looks like, Ӧzgür pointed to the amount of time he spends on different things. ¼ of his time is spent communicating with various parties, including Synack and clients. With the rest of the day, he searches for and submits vulnerabilities. He relishes the option to choose when, how, and on what to work, however; especially since it allows him to work on the “juiciest” targets.

After all that, we couldn’t forget to ask about his Million Dollar Milestone. A year ago, he says, he couldn’t imagine reaching it so soon. Earning that much with only eight years of experience and four years on the platform doesn’t seem possible for most people. However, through a combination of pure skill and unmatched dedication, he achieved the improbable. 

So what’s next? According to Ӧzgür, one of his goals for this year is to submit 365 accepted vulnerabilities: one for every day of the year. After his previous accomplishments, there’s no doubt that it’s within his capabilities, and it seems to be going well. Additionally, he would like to be the SRT of the Year for the 2020-21 Recognition Program.

We look forward to watching out for more of Ӧzgür’s career milestones in the future. Check out the full interview, containing extra content on handling burnout and more detail on his journey, below!

“In bug bounty, you are trying to find a vulnerability that matters, especially the critical and exciting ones. If I find one that makes an impact, it excites me. That’s mostly why I love to work in this area.”

Listen to the full interview:

 

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER

Jada Cumberland is a successful participant of Synack Academy and now an intern with Synack’s Community Team.  As she embarks upon her career in cybersecurity, her goals include finding and submitting her first bug bounty, earning the Security+ certification, and meeting new people in the industry.