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Monday, 25 October 2010 08:49

Mozilla pays $3,000 to 12 year-old bug hunter

Written by Nick Farell
firefox

Experts start young these days
The Mozzarella Foundation has given $3,000 to the insecurity expert that found the worst bug in its browser. While this is not news in itself, the bug hunter in question was a 12 year-old  called  Alex Miller.

According to the Mercury News, Miller found a critical security flaw buried in Firefox after becoming motivated by the news that the Mozzarella Foundation had up the value of its bug bounty from $500. A Firefox loyalist, Miller found something in an initial search and sent in a bug report, but it wasn't the right type of bug to qualify for the big bucks, so he hit the computer again for  90 minutes each day for about 10 days until he found a flaw in the memory of the running program.

The big cheese in the Mozzarella Foundation said that the outfit depends on contributors like these for our very, sort of, survival. According to his mum Elissa, Alex is virtually self-taught and often reads his  parents' very technical books. Apparently he has a gift for things geeky.

While some think Alex spends too much time on the computer, Miller is quick to point out that he's not just playing games; what Alex is doing is learning. Until he produced a copy of the cheque from Mozilla, Alex none of his  friends believed him when he told them about the money.

Nick Farell

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