Teen bug bounty hunter scores int’l fame with tech skills | Allahabad News – DigitalMunition

Cryptography Teen bug bounty hunter scores int'l fame with tech skills | Allahabad News

Published on June 16th, 2019 📆 | 2039 Views ⚑


Teen bug bounty hunter scores int’l fame with tech skills | Allahabad News

ALLAHABAD: On January 15, when the rest of his friends were busy preparing for their Class XII examinations, 17-year-old Sudhanshu Rajbhar was beaming with pride as he had received a letter of appreciation from the University of Cambridge.
The Kendriya Vidyalaya alumnus had managed to spot a software bug in the prestigious institution’s website. The bug would have paved way for hackers to gain unauthorised access to the website and hence students’ data. A software bug is an error in coding which might pose security risk to a website.
When he informed the university about the security loophole via email, the administration wrote back to him. The letter read, “The site has been taken offline while the code is being worked upon. We appreciate you taking the time and effort to point out this vulnerability out to us, and wish you all the best in all your future endeavours.”
Earlier, the self-taught programmer claims to have spotted coding errors in the official websites of several international software and tech giants. Back home, his talent has been appreciated by the likes of food aggregator Zomato and telecom major Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Sudhanshu is a member of HackerOne, which is an online platform for ethical hackers to get rewarded by websites and companies for spotting potential security threats to their online portals.
His father, Havaldar UC Rajbhar, is based in Allahabad and Sudhanshu is the younger of two siblings.
“I scan websites of companies, institutions and governments for bugs, apprise them of the coding errors and accordingly suggest how they could fix the problem,” said the Army Colony resident.
His talent has earned him not just appreciation but prize money as well. A few months shy of turning 18, Sudhanshu has received around $1,300 as prize money. In September 2018, the Dutch government had sent him a certificate and a t-shirt after he spotted a software bug in its official website.
“I was introduced to the concept of ‘bug bounty’ through Facebook about nine months ago. I honed my skills by watching YouTube videos,” said the 17-year-old who scored 84% in class XII examination.
TOI got in touch with Vin Everett from CSIRT Analyst Information Services, University of Cambridge, via mail inquiring about Sudhanshu’s achievements.
“I definitely wrote to Sudhanshu Rajbhar. We do not have budgets to finance bug bounties, so all we can do is offer a thank you letter. It can help students training in IT security by polishing their resume. We also have a number of students writing WWW code. We end up becoming a target when that code is neglected.”
“Five years ago, one might have been arrested for breaching a website’s security system, but now things have changed. Institutions and companies welcome individuals who can help them make their websites more secure,” Sudhanshu added.
The computer wizard now wants to pursue a BCA to fulfil his dreams of becoming an ethical hacker.
His school principal Shalini Dikshit rues not getting to know about her student’s talent earlier.
“I am proud of his achievements, but at the same time I would like to encourage students to tell their teachers about their interests. If we had known about Sudhanshu’s talents earlier, we would have informed our headquarters in New Delhi and he could have more opportunities to use his talent,” said Dikshit, who is the principal of the school’s Old Cantonment branch.

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