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Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!

What started as a casual successful attempt at hacking the Wi-Fi network of his coaching institute while pursing non-medical stream in Class XI, has today blossomed into a full blown passionate pursuit of the highly rewarding field of ethical hacking (or bug bounty hunting) for Chandigarh boy Harinder Singh, placing him among the top ten geeks of this field in the country.

Having ethically hacked 200+ companies, institutions, organisations and governments, including Google, Flipkart, Blackberry, BMW, Bosch, Redhat, United Nations, EA, TeamViewer, Mcafee, and many more, exposing simple or critical vulnerabilities in their IT systems, the 23-year-old has won millions in ‘bug hunting bounty’, besides being awarded swags, badges, letters of appreciation and listed by various beneficiaries in their ‘Hall of Fame’.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, LifeinchdPhotos courtesy: Harinder Singh

Earlier this month Harinder Singh, who schooled at St Joseph’s Chandigarh and graduated in Bachelor’s in Computer Application (BCA) from Chitkara University Rajpura, was honoured with reputation points and a special non-monetary token called ‘C01N’ by the Govt of Singapore (GovTech Singapore) in recognition for his valuable services in identifying a security vulnerability in one of their websites though Hackone, world’s largest community of trusted ethical hackers.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, Lifeinchd

Singapore’s own version of Arduino, C01N is a powerful device equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities which can be customised to suit different needs and used for a variety of computer applications.

In an exclusive interaction with your own news website, the cybersecurity analyst, working full-time with FIS Global, world’s No. 1 fintech company, as End Point Security Engineer since 2021, revealed that there is a lot more money to be made through ethical hacking (as ‘white hats’) than in cybercrime, wherein cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities in the IT systems to gain access and play havoc.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, Lifeinchd

Harinder Singh informed that despite best efforts by governments, companies, institutions, organisations, and others worldwide to shore up their cybersecurity, weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the IT systems still get left out. It is here that ethical hackers or ‘white hats’ step in to identify and report cybersecurity risks in these IT systems and pre-empt the evil designs of cybercriminals, he added.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, Lifeinchd

Not so much prevalent in India, ‘bug bounty hunting’ is big business in the advanced countries where governments, companies, institutions and organisations, which take their cybersecurity really seriously, have laid out policies and programmes, and specified terms and conditions for their engagement with the ethical hackers. Handsome ‘bounties’ or payouts are made to the ‘white hats’ depending on criticality of the bugs/vulnerabilities detected and reported by them.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, Lifeinchd

Recounting his own bug bounty journey, Harinder Singh said, having joined the Hackerone community in October 2020, his first real break came in 2021 when he was able to identify vulnerability in the website of a Netherlands company and with it was able to access its employee details. Acknowledging his find, the company rewarded him with a handsome ‘bounty’ in foreign currency.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, Lifeinchd

The cybersecurity consultant has in two years been able to identify and report vulnerabilities/bugs in the IT systems of 200+ organisations, 137 of these through Hackerone, for which he has been ranked among top 10 ethical hackers in India on the worldwide platform.

However, Harinder Singh sees his achievements thus far as only a tip of the iceberg. The opportunities are immense and his aim is to become the No. 1 hacker in the country and be part of the international hall of fame in the field.

Nevertheless, he is very humble about his achievements and credits his mentors and friends for their constant guidance, feedback and motivation.

Have A Hacker Brain! Bug Bounty Hunting™ Is Choice No. 1!, Lifeinchd

For those who are also pursuing, or are wanting to pursue ‘bug bounty hunting’ or cybersecurity, his message is to “keep pushing yourself, never stop learning, and not hesitate to seek guidance from experts in the field. Remember, success is a journey, not a destination, and it requires hard work, perseverance, and the right support system.”

Harinder Singh’s recommendations for free training:

To learnt basics: (hands-on cybersecurity training through real-world scenarios)

To practice ethical hacking:  by APR Media House is an enjoyable digital reading startup, which keeps you abreast of the latest meaningful happenings of interest to large sections of folks in Chandigarh tricity, and expats from the region. It has been promoted by a public spirited senior journalist and media consultant with a view to encourage good quality and healthy journalism, a dire need of the times.

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