Facebook Pays 10-Year-Old $10,000 for Hacking Instagram
With millions of active users posting and viewing photos on the app every day, Instagram and parent company Facebook have to stay on top of potential security risks. While the tech giants have employees tasked with finding cracks in the armor, it’s not always the trained professionals who discover the flaws. According to the BBC, a 10-year-old boy from Finland named Jani found a bug that allowed him to delete comments on photos left by other users—and he earned $10,000 for his efforts.
After Jani emailed Facebook to inform them about the issue in February, the company’s security team created an account so that he could prove that what he found really worked. Once they confirmed the find and fixed the error, they paid Jani $10,000. Like other institutions that deal with sensitive information, including the Pentagon, Facebook offers a “bug bounty” to hackers who, instead of maliciously attacking the system, help to strengthen its security.
Since the program began in 2011, Facebook has paid about $4.3 million in bug bounties, with payouts beginning at $500. But, according to the BBC, Jani is the youngest recipient of Facebook’s initiative. And the Helsinki native already has big plans for his prize. He told local newspaper Iltalehti that he wants to work in security one day and that he plans to buy a bike, soccer ball, and new computers for himself and his twin brother.