A Helsinki-based 10-year-old boy discovered a hack on Instagram, the photo-sharing application owned by Facebook, that would allow him to delete any user’s comment, proving you’re never too young to start building your resume – and that computer hacking as a career continues to make a push toward prominence.
The boy, Jani, whose last name has not been shared at his parents’ request, tipped off Facebook about the Instagram flaw earlier this year. The company responded by creating a test Instagram account and posting a comment. They then told Jani to go ahead and delete the comment. He did, proving the bug’s existence. After resolving the flaw in February, Facebook awarded Jani $10,000 in March.
Facebook is understandably vague on how Jani discovered the vulnerability, which involved Instagram’s application programming interface (or API) failing to check whether the person who deleted the comment was the same one who posted.
The award was part of Facebook’s Bug Bounty Program, which has paid out a total of $4.3 million in rewards to more than 800 security researchers. Google, Microsoft, and other leading tech companies have similar reward programs.
Jani had a prior interest in computer security, often watching videos about the subject on YouTube with his brother. Unlike other hackers, Jani operated on purely ethical terms. His hack did not require him to sign in or create an account, so he didn’t even have to violate Instagram’s terms and conditions (users are required to be at least 13 years old). Facebook has previously refused to pay rewards to hackers who violated the company’s terms of service.
If you’re a hacker or IT professional, you could learn something from Jani’s tale. Especially considering there are plenty of computer security opportunities for tech workers over the age of 10.
For example, you could make big money working for the United States government. After Apple refused, the FBI paid hackers over $1 million to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.
Cyber security is a top priority for the country, with the Department of Homeland Security receiving clearance in April to bring on 1,000 new workers to the field by June 30. The positions have been hard for the department to fill, because top experts are typically lured away by the private sector and intelligence agencies.
And if you can’t hack ’em, join ’em?
Full-time staffers at Instagram/Facebook enjoy some of the industry’s highest salaries, best benefits and coolest perks. Instagram has recently posted full-time job positions for Software Engineer Managers and Infrastructure Software Engineers. Even if coding is not your strength, there’s plenty of job opportunities at Instagram, including postings for Data Analysts, Public Policy Managers, and Technology Communications Managers.
So, instead of spending time trying to find bugs in other people’s software, maybe you could spend some time trying to find them on your resume.
This article was first published on Monster.com