United Continental Holdings has awarded millions of frequent flier miles to hackers who have uncovered gaps in the carrier's web security, in a first for the U.S. airline industry.
United confirmed with Reuters that it has paid out two awards worth 1 million miles each, worth dozens of free domestic flights on the airline. United did not confirm tweets from individuals who say they have been paid smaller awards as well.
The Chicago-based carrier has hoped to trailblaze in the area of airline web security by offering "bug bounties" for uncovering cyber risks. Through the program, researchers flag problems before malicious hackers can exploit them. The cost can be less than hiring outside consultancies.
Three of United's competitors declined to comment on bug bounty programs. A fourth was not immediately available for comment.