Synack is announcing two new efforts to recognize and celebrate the world’s best hackers in a new era of crowdsourced cohesion in information security: the Synack Acropolis and the Synack Recognition Program driving it.
Confidentiality and privacy are core principles of the Synack model for security testing. We have chosen to operate behind a semi-opaque curtain of anonymity since our founding in 2013. During that time the Synack Red Team (SRT) has grown to become a first-class, globally distributed team of more than 1,500 ethical hackers. The great majority of applicants are turned away and many more are asked to stay on a wait list to ensure enough opportunity for existing members. The SRT protect everything from financial records and COVID-19 related information to weapons systems and cryptocurrency exchanges. The SRT protects the entire fabric of digital life.
Without the firmest commitment to confidentiality, we do want to give our researchers an opportunity for the public praise that our customers regularly send to them in private, leading to our first announcement.
The Synack Acropolis is a beacon of trust, honor and excellence that recognizes the best SRT for their accomplishments on the Synack platform. Fitting the mythology motif defined by Synack’s Hydra and Apollo products, the Acropolis honors its namesake by paying tribute to SRT who are exceptionally bright, crafty in their payloads, and as fierce competitors as Athena, to whom the Acropolis pays tribute.
SRT earn their spot on the Synack Acropolis website by participating in the annual Synack Recognition Program and receiving at least one distinguished accolade. Once awarded, SRT can contribute details of their brand to their dedicated profile page, such as imagery and links to social media, news articles, blogs and CVEs. Fame and notoriety are not for everyone, and there are still some exceptional researchers who prefer to focus their efforts on protecting customers without public accolades. The Synack Acropolis is, and always will be, an opt-in benefit to proven SRT who want it.
The Synack Acropolis relies on today’s second announcement: the Synack Recognition Program. The Recognition Program is an annual engagement whereby SRT are given clear vuln hunting and Mission objectives to achieve each year that are closely tied with Synack customer goals. Rather than focus on individual findings, Synack sets performance goals that demand a commitment to excellence and embrace an SRT’s full body of work on the platform. When researchers achieve these milestones, they earn limited-edition prizes and, ultimately, recognition amongst their peers as being the best of the best. The most coveted prizes from the 2019-20 Synack Recognition program include a custom eSports hoodie, Oculus Quests and DJI Mavic Air Drones.
This program also looks to crown distinct honors for individuals, such as for the 2019-20 Synack Recognition Program:
- SRT of the Year – Most Impactful SRT
- Rookie of the Year – Most Impactful SRT
- Grand Champion – Winner of Synack Annual Top HackerHangout Event
- This year is the #Road2Tokyo
- Guardian of Trust – Winner of the Synack Guardian of Trust Award
- Adam Logue earned this distinction for 2020.
- Circle of Trust – A curated group of SRT across all levels and geographies that are stewards of the SRT community and culture; offering guidance to Synack on how to best align new programs and initiatives with researchers for mutual success.
- Click here to view the 2019-20’s Inaugural Circle of Trust Class
- Champion – SRT who have won various competitions, such as, but not limited to CTFs and special access programs.
In addition to individual recognition, there are also performance based recognitions that SRT can strive to achieve to earn their spot on the Acropolis. These performance-based recognitions must be re-earned every year, and include:
- TITAN – Highest tier for annual contributions
- OLYMPIAN – Exceptional annual contributions
- HERO – Above and beyond contributions
Given the turbulence in the world right now, it is common for people to have shifting priorities as they adapt to change. For security researchers, this is no different. With the Synack Recognition Program, researchers can clearly see how to achieve success on the Synack platform. The recognition SRT earn along the way will be commemorated on the Synack Acropolis to support their goals and advance the collective mission of Synack, the SRT, and our customers: a safer internet for us all.
— Ryan Rutan
Director of Community, Synack Red Team
Note: The Synack Recognition Program window runs from July to June of the following year. Stay tuned for our inaugural announcement of accomplished researchers from this year’s program.