If there’s one word that’s sure to strike fear into the hearts of the chattering classes these days, it’s “hacker”. They are the zeitgeist criminals, who are all powerful, seemingly invincible and always that one step ahead - at least according to mainstream media who portray them as masked villains hiding away in their bedrooms.

But hacking isn’t all bad. Much of it is undertaken simply to expose vulnerabilities in systems and that’s an invaluable part of the process when it comes to the unrelenting march of technology.

So Facebook and Microsoft have got together to launch hackerone.com where they offer incentives for people with the skills to “break” various bits of software.

The way they see it, you can turn hackers away from their nefarious activities by offering them cold hard cash.

And it seems to be working. People who find weakness in the systems listed here can qualify for bounty, if they can demonstrate that what they’ve found makes the internet a better, safer place.

They probably still get to wear those masks if they want to though…