How to get your first $500 from an XSS vulnerability

3 min readMay 24, 2024


Bug bounty programs offer rewards to individuals who identify and report vulnerabilities in software. These programs play a crucial role in improving the security of software applications by incentivizing the discovery of vulnerabilities. This blog post explores the role of XSS vulnerabilities in bug bounty hunting and provides insights into how individuals can earn their first $500 from discovering an XSS vulnerability.

Understanding XSS Vulnerabilities

XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) vulnerabilities occur when an attacker injects malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users. There are three main types of XSS vulnerabilities: Reflected XSS, Stored XSS, and DOM-based XSS. These vulnerabilities can have a significant impact on web applications, potentially allowing attackers to steal sensitive information or perform malicious actions on behalf of the user.

Most Common XSS (Cross Site Script) Attack

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Getting Started with Bug Bounty Hunting

To get started with bug bounty hunting, individuals need to set up a bug bounty hunting environment, which typically involves installing and configuring various tools for vulnerability scanning and exploitation. It’s also important to choose the right bug bounty program, as not all programs offer the same rewards or have the same scope. Understanding the scope of the program is essential to ensure that the vulnerabilities discovered are eligible for rewards.

Identifying XSS Vulnerabilities

There are several techniques for finding XSS vulnerabilities, including manual testing and automated scanning using tools such as Burp Suite, OWASP ZAP, and Acunetix. However, identifying XSS vulnerabilities can be challenging, as they often require a deep understanding of web application security and the ability to think creatively to find potential attack vectors.

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Reporting XSS Vulnerabilities

Responsible disclosure is key when reporting XSS vulnerabilities. This involves notifying the organization or program running the bug bounty program about the vulnerability in a clear and detailed vulnerability report. Including proof-of-concept code and a suggested fix can increase the likelihood of a successful submission.

Maximizing Bounty Rewards

Several factors can affect the bounty rewards offered for XSS vulnerabilities, including the severity of the vulnerability, the impact it has on the application, and the quality of the vulnerability report. To maximize bounty rewards, bug bounty hunters should focus on finding high-impact vulnerabilities and submitting clear and detailed reports.

Ethical Considerations

Bug bounty hunting comes with ethical considerations, as unauthorized testing can have legal implications. It’s important for bug bounty hunters to follow the rules of the bug bounty program and obtain permission before testing software for vulnerabilities. Additionally, bug bounty hunters should always prioritize the security and privacy of users’ data.

The bug bounty hunting can be a rewarding way to earn money and contribute to improving the security of software applications. By understanding XSS vulnerabilities and following best practices for bug bounty hunting, individuals can increase their chances of earning their first $500 from an XSS vulnerability.