12 year old Chinese Hacking Prodigy joins the League of World’s Youngest Computer Hackers

Wang Zhengyang, a 12 year old Chinese “computer whizzkid” may be the youngest hacker in China. Wang broke into his school computer system and a shopping website but claims he was only looking for flaws.

Wang hacked into his school system then notified the software company that offered this same software to other schools. “I meant to help fix the websites,” explains Wang at the Chinese Internet security conference, refuting media claims that he hacked into the system to avoid doing his homework.  He said the school website he hacked was for senior high school students not for his junior high school class.

The Chinese Prodigy also hacked into an online store and adjusted the price an Item from 2500 yuan ($407) to 1 yuan ( $0.16). As for his shopping spree Wang says he never made the purchase. He notified the online store after finding a flaw in password authentication.  “You have to attack the websites first to find its weaknesses,” said Wang.

Wang gained popularity at the 2014 Chinese Internet Security conference where he said he want to be seen as an ethical hacker or a white hat. “I think those who hack all day for profit are immoral,” he said. “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.”

Wang thinks everybody has a role to play on internet security regardless of their age or profession. “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 who is affiliated with Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Wang joins a league of computer wizzkids who have fascinated the world with their hacking skills at their tender ages. Last year, a 12 year old Canadian boy pleaded guilty to a host of computer hacking charges in a Quebec court.

The boy whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile, admitted participating in DDoS attacks, copypasta website vandalism, and exploiting security holes on sites to access databases — and later post stolen information online.

The boy whose attacks were linked to protests in Quebec was allegedly motivated by members of Anonymous- a group or cybercriminals who gave him pirated video games as a reward for his efforts.

Interestingly, he shared his hacking skills with others, reportedly with a message warning, “It’s easy to hack but do not go there too much, they will track you down.” Unfortunately he did not heed to his own advice.

Another Canadian 15 year old boy made news headlines in 2000 after he took down eTrade, eBay and Yahoo. The kid famously known as Mafiaboy was incarcerated for eight months in a rehab after which cybersecurity firms were scrambling for a piece of him.

In 2012 a computer geek dubbed “Europe youngest App designer” was expelled from school for hacking into his school computer system and accessing staff confidential information including the deputy principal’s financial information.

Aaron Bond who was 14 by then and a student at King Edward VI College in Totness, was expelled permanently for accessing confidential passwords and tempering with the school’s IT room booking system.

The youngster has designed six smartphones App in addition to directing his own web design company. He was also a special delegate in Last year’s Apple conference.

In a similar case, a 15 year old American teenager caused a 21 day shutdown of NASA computers that support international space station. The boy codenamed “c0mrade” attacked pentagon weapons security systems, intercepting thousands of privileged emails and leaking security passcodes.

The boy who pleaded guilty to a slew of computer frauds become the first juvenile to be incarcerated for cybercrimes reported the Washington court. He was sentenced to six months in a State detention facility

According to State attorney General, Janet Reno. “Breaking into someone else’s property, whether it’s a robbery or a computer intrusion, is a serious crime,” he told reporters. The sentencing “shows that we take computer intrusion seriously and are working with our law enforcement agencies to aggressively fight this problem,” he added.

The boy admitted to accessing computer systems a Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and downloading over $1.7 million worth of NASA proprietary software .He also infiltrated Defense Threat Reduction Agency computer networks between August and October 1999. The Agency is responsible for reducing threats from nuclear, biological, chemical, convection and special weapons to United States.

NASA reportedly incurred a cost of over $41,000 in labor cost and equipment replacements in the 21 day shutdown. Mr. Cooper, a security expert however believes the shutdown at NASA was a common standard practice when government agencies are compromised. “I would suspect that that type of delay is occurring very, very regularly,” he said. “It’s quite likely that companies and government agencies, et cetera are scared into thinking that they might have been compromised.”

Lawrence Mwangi Lawrence is a technology and business reporter. He has freelanced for a number of tech sites and magazines. He is a web-enthusiast, with a special interest in Online security, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. When not writing about tech he can be found in a Tennis court or on a chess board.
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