Ashan Tahir, a 13-year-old from Karachi, Pakistan, managed to surprise the world with his hacking skills when he started discovering bugs in the biggest internet companies in the world.
This 13-year-old stands out among others his age, and the reason is his so-called “ethical hacking”. Tahir developed a method that he uses to help some of the biggest tech companies discover and eliminate flaws in their sites. He has already made a name for himself in the world of cybersecurity by helping companies like Microsoft and Google.
For him, it all started after his own website got hacked. He then surfed the web, trying to learn what he can about online security when he discovered flaws in his own applications, and then in others too.
After fixing his own website’s bugs, he discovered a site that said that he’ll be paid if he managed to hack into different companies in order to find bugs and that he decided to try that out.
He then started learning to hack through YouTube videos and blogs, and the experiments of his own. Now, his security skills are earning him extra money at the age of 13. His recent bug discoveries helped him buy new iPhone 7, and the next thing on his wish list is a car when he turns 18.
Tahir’s father came with him on his trip to the US, and when interviewed, he told NBC News that he’s proud of his son and his accomplishments and that he has no skills when it comes to tech, and neither does his wife.
Tahir’s day is slightly different than your typical 13-year-olds. It starts with him going to school, coming home at the end of his classes and then hacking some of the biggest companies in the world for about six hours, before doing his homework.
While he admits that a lot of his motivation comes from the money he receives, he also says that he wants to help make the internet a safer place, and teach others how to protect themselves. He stated that he is proud of making the internet safer, and understands that the wars of the future will be fought online.
Tahir’s plans for the future include continuing the bug bounty business, but he also wishes to become a software engineer and maybe even start his own company someday. Until then, he is anxiously waiting for July and his 14th birthday so that he’d be eligible to receive a $500 pay from Microsoft for several bugs he discovered.
Everyone from Apple to the Pentagon is offering money for bug discoveries, so the bug bounty business is thriving. It’s been said that, depending on the criticality of the bug discovered, a successful hacker can earn anything from $50 to $350,000 per bug.
Casey Ellis, the Founder, and CEO of Bugcrows stated that “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.”