Meet the bughunters: the hackers in India protecting your data

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Nobody thought Anand Prakash would end up a multi-millionaire. Raised in a small town of Bhadra in western India, Prakash preferred to spend his free time playing computer games in cybercafes rather than outdoors playing cricket with the other boys his age. But when he was still struggling to find a job at college, Prakash discovered Facebook’s bug bounty programme, which rewards “whitehat” hackers, who test the website for bugs and help protect users’ data.

Now, he’s earned more than 10 million Indian rupees (£112,000) by testing websites like Facebook and Google for bugs, and helped protect millions of peoples’ personal data in the process. A self-taught computer whizz who learned about hacking by reading blogs and watching Youtube videos, Prakash found his first bug easily – it allowed people to be discovered online after they’d turned of their Facebook messenger service.

Facebook paid him 33,000 rupees for that discovery. Since then, Prakash has reported more than 90 bugs to Facebook alone, and many more to companies including Twitter, Google, Dropbox, Adobe, eBay, Paypal and others.

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