Ahsan Tahir who is just 13 years old is a self-taught hacker and an emerging star in the world of cybersecurity. He has been spotting weaknesses for some of the biggest tech giants in the industry.
Tahir is a cyber security consultant from Karachi, Pakistan and an ethical hacker. While talking to NBC News, he told them that he started learning to hack only a year ago when his personal website was hacked. That was the time when he realized that there are many tech companies in the world who reward ethical hackers for spotting bugs and vulnerabilities in their websites or apps.
The Bug Bounty Programs started by many companies pay between the range of $50 to $350,000 to ethical hackers for finding bugs. This price is dependent on the size of the company and the severity of the problem.
It was through watching YouTube videos and reading blogs that the young hacker developed these skills. He keeps experimenting on his own to learn different tactics. Founder and CEO of Bugcrowd, Casey Ellis, said,
“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.”
Ahsan leads his life like any other normal teen. He goes to school daily and after coming back, he starts hacking for hours before finally getting his homework done. He has recently bought an iPhone 7 from his earnings through the Bug Bounty Programs. The parents of the boy are not much into the tech field but they are very supportive and proud of their bright son. He aspires to become a software engineer in future.
Although Ahsan makes money by finding online susceptibilities but his foremost aim is to make the internet a safer place. Currently, he is looking forward to work for Microsoft’s Bug Bounty Program for which the minimum age criteria is 14 years. He is also inclined to teach his skills to other through platforms like YouTube,
“The more hackers there are, the more bugs [are found], and the more secure companies are. It’s simple.”