Meet 13-year-old Pakistani hacker who has found bugs at Microsoft and Google
What would a kid at the age of 13 think and aspire to be when he or she becomes an adult? Maybe an engineer, a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, etc. However, this 13-year-old chose to become a hacker, however, an “ethical hacker.”
Ahsan Tahir, a 13-year-old teenager from Karachi, Pakistan, who is already a star in the cybersecurity world, has hacked big techies like Microsoft and Google, along with Uber, a transportation network company. He is also been hired by other firms to find bugs. Ahsan hacks them to detect bugs and vulnerabilities in their sites, in return for cash and swag.
“The more hackers there are, the more bugs [are found], and the more secure companies are. It’s simple,” Ahsan said while speaking to NBC News.
Ahsan, who is a self-taught security consultant, learnt how to hack by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and started experimenting on his own at an early age of 12.
So, how did Ahsan start his journey in the security world? It began for Ahsan when his personal website was hacked. “I decided to find bugs in my own website,” he said. Ahsan then said he found a site “that told me I can hack into different companies to find bugs and they will pay me — or appreciate me — so I started [doing] that.”
While doing so, he found that not only he could find security vulnerabilities in his own applications, but in others too. That is when Ahsan decided to use his hacking skills to good use through bug bounty programs, helping companies discover and fix vulnerabilities in their websites, which can be used to create security patches.
So, what is a typical day for the teenager? According to NBC News, it involves hacking for six hours to eight hours after he comes back from school. And, if he does find time after hacking, he likes to play football or guitar.
While kids of his age are either busy playing video games or some sports, Ahsan prefers to earn money by finding bugs, as he aspires to become a software engineer and start his own company. He also has bought himself a new iPhone 7 and saving up to buy a car when he turns 18 and get his driver’s licence.
He also hopes to keep participating in bug bounties part time and wishes to make internet a safer place by teaching other people the skills that have made him a success, mainly through YouTube tutorials.
“I am proud of making the internet safer, the world safer,” Tahir said. “Because the next wars maybe will be cyber wars.”
Casey Ellis, Founder and CEO of Bugcrowd, told NBC News, “Hackers like Ahsan are literally the next generation of cybersecurity defenders, and the future of the internet relies on them having an easy on-ramp into security as a career. Digital natives make very good hackers, and the power this group represents to companies trying to safeguard their businesses and users is immense.”
Talking about his miracle son, Tahir’s father, who went along with him on his trip to the U.S., told NBC News that he’s proud of his self-taught son, since both he and his wife are not techies.
Check out the video below to know more about Ahsan’s hacking aspirations, future plans and more.
Source: NBC News