13-year-old Pakistani hacker helping world’s top tech companies

A 13-year-old hacker from Karachi is schooling some of the biggest technology companies when it comes to cybersecurity.

Ahsan Tahir, an “ethical hacker”, is putting his skills to use by helping tech firms discover bugs and vulnerabilities in their websites which can be used to create security patches.

Tahir, a self-taught security consultant, learnt how to hack by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and experimenting on his own at the tender age of 12.

The young techie is now a rising star in the cyber security realm, spotting bugs for companies such as Microsoft and Google.

“The more hackers there are, the more bugs [are found], and the more secure companies are. It’s simple,” Tahir said while speaking to NBC News.

The 13-year-old started his journey in the security world after his personal website was hacked. “I decided to find bugs in my own website,” he said. Tahir 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.”

Bounty programmes have become a major tool for tech giants such as Apple and Google who pay cash prizes to security consultants who can help the company create security patches for any vulnerability on their programmes and therefore prevent hackers from exploiting any security loophole in their system.

While most children spend their time playing videos games, Tahir is earning money by finding bugs. A typical day for the teen involves going to school and then coming back only to spend the rest of the day hacking.

The 13-year-old wants to become a software engineer one day and start his own company. He also hopes to keep participating in bug bounties part time and teach other people his skills with the aim of making the internet safe. “I am proud of making the internet safer, the world safer,” Tahir said. “Because the next wars maybe will be cyber wars.”

This article originally appeared on NBC News.

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