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United Awards Hacker 1 Million Frequent-Flyer Miles

When United offered a bounty of 1 million miles for reports of software bugs on its website, skeptics suspected it was a gimmick to show the airline took online security seriously. Not so.

When United offered a bounty of up to 1 million frequent-flyer miles for reports of software bugs on its website or mobile apps, skeptics suspected it was nothing more than a gimmick to show that the airline took online security seriously.

Not so, it turns out. Proof positive: United last week awarded the aforementioned mileage award, 1 million MileagePlus miles, to a Florida-based online security professional.

According to Threatpost, a website published by the Kapersky Lab security service, Jordan Wiens, founder of Vector 35, discovered a remote code-execution vulnerability on United’s site, and brought it to the airline’s attention under the bug-bounty program.

Apparently its was the real deal—a serious threat, in other words—and United awarded Wiens the full 1 million miles, the first mileage payout under the program.

Wiens figures the value of the miles at around $25,000, and is considering redeeming them for a first-class trip around the world or for 40 domestic trips.

Reader Reality Check

What would you do with 1 million frequent-flyer miles?

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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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