A teen self-taught hacker made his first million dollars thanks to legal hacking
It seems that nowadays legal hacking can be a really profitable activity. According to the latest news, a 19-year-old self-taught hacker Santiago Lope, also known as Try_to_hack, has already earned a million dollars from disclosing bugs and vulnerabilities to companies. The fortune he received was paid via the HackerOne Bug Bounty program.
Bug Bounty is supposed to help companies become more secure. Once a valid security flaw is reported to the organization, the hacker receives an award. At the moment, more than 1200 technology companies and government institutions are relying on this service.
An Argentinian researcher has been a member of the hacker community since 2015. He earned his first award ($50) in 2016. As the millionaire claims, at the time he was happy to receive the first award, but the money was not the most important thing.
Since then, Santiago Lope has reported more than 1,600 security vulnerabilities helping companies to keep their data safe and secure. Twitter and Verizon are only a few from the whole bunch of private corporations and government organizations that he has helped for.
Self-taught hacker – the first Bug Bounty millionaire
This was the first time when someone from the Bug Bounty award program earned a million dollars. While, in total, the reward platform has helped hackers to earn over $45 million, Santiago Lopez is the first one to surpass the one million mark in bounty awards for helping organizations.
As many other hacker community members, Santiago says he is a self-taught hacker, and his first encounter with the hacking culture was on the movie “Hackers”. He learned most of his techniques online, just by using tutorials and other materials on the internet. Lopez describes how he discovered his passion for this industry:
I never knew anything about hacking. I didn’t even know it existed until I saw the movie Hackers, which opened up a whole new world for me. As I learned more, I realized that I was naturally drawn to the types of challenges and problem solving opportunities associated with hacking.
After school, Santiago started to do hacking full-time, and now he is earning almost forty times the average engineer salary in Buenos Aires. Lopez is a creative and curious role model for hundreds of thousands of aspiring hackers, as HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos says about him. His achievements inspire other people in the community.
More millionaires are coming the same way
At the moment, Lopez is at the top on the list when it comes to HackerOne leaderboard. However, having in mind that more than three hundred thousand hackers are competing for the first place, a million dollar mark can soon be surpassed by his colleagues as well. In fact, just a few days after Lopez success, Mark Litchfield also received a million dollar payout on Bug Bounty awards.
Mark Litchfield is also known from 2016 when he was the first hacker who earned $500 000 in the same Bug Bounties. Mark has helped more than 900 organizations to solve security weaknesses by far.