A 12-year-old Chinese ‘Hacking Prodigy’

A 12-year-old Chinese ‘hacking prodigy’ broke into his school’s computer system and a shopping website, but claims he’s only doing it to help fix security flaws.Wang Zhengyang hacked into his school’s system, then notified the software company of a security flaw that affected other schools using the program.

A 13-year-old has gained media attention during this year’s China Internet Security Conference, held from Sept. 24 to 25. Referred to as “China’s youngest hacker,” Wang Zhengyang, a student from a junior high school affiliated with Tsinghua University in Beijing, said he prefers to be seen as an ethical computer hacker, or “white hat,” reported the Beijing News.

“I meant to help fix the websites,” Wang said, responding to earlier media claims that he had hacked into his school’s online system to avoid submitting homework and breached the backdoor system of an online store and altered the price of an item from 2,500 yuan (US$407) to 1 yuan (US$0.16) before checkout.

“You have to attack the websites first to find its weaknesses,” said Wang, who explained that the school website he hacked was not for his junior high class but for high school students at the same educational institution. As for the 2,500 yuan shopping spree, he said he did that after finding a security breach related to password authentication. He notified the online store of the security breach and did not make the purchase

“I think those who hack all day for profit are immoral,” said Wang. “It is interesting to look for website security risks and I am overwhelmed with joy when I find one. But I will not use my talent for something illegal.”

“By attending the conference, I want the other to notice me and know that someone my age could work on internet security,” said the prodigy.

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