Facebook Gave $10K to Finnish 10-year Old Hacker: How Did He Do It?

By Mark Jason Alcala , Updated May 06, 2016 05:29 AM EDT
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When a hacker gets caught, one usually gets jailed. However, on rare occasions, one just might receive a cash bounty for being too curious. This is what happened to a 10-year-old boy from Finland who was awarded a cool $10k for his hacking efforts which in turn exposed serious security flaws on Instagram.

Jani, the 10-year-old Finnish boy who's last name was not revealed for privacy reasons, single-handedly found a bug on Instagram, Facebook's photo-sharing app, reports Fortune. Apparently, the boy's curious nature led him to explore Instagram's safeguards to see if it can withstand some simple malicious coding. It turns out it couldn't.

The app's bug would have been serious if it was discovered by more ill-disposed hackers. Jani found that he could actually delete anybody's Instagram posts. According to the boy, he could even delete Justin Beiber's posts if he wanted to by exploiting the security issue of the app.

Probably sensing that he could not gain anything by deleting Bieber's posts, Jani instead reported the matter to Facebook's Bounty Bug Program according to NY Daily News. Facebook tested Jani's claim by making a post to a newly created fake Instagram account and asking the boy to delete it. After Jani successfully demonstrated that he could delete the post, Facebook awarded the kid the cool $10 thousand.

What is more interesting is that Jani admitted that he only learned coding via youtube videos. The boy plans to have a career in cyber security when he grows up but for now, he is more excited on his plans to buy new computers, bikes and soccer gears for him and his twin brother using the bounty money.

Facebook confirms that Jani is now officially "Facebook's youngest bounty hunger", dislodging a 13-year-old boy who previously held the title. To date, Facebook has awarded around $4.3 million to 800 hackers for helping the social media giant upgrade its security.

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