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SciTech

Meet Microsoft's 5-year-old security researcher


Detractors calling Microsoft a dinosaur may want to rethink their stand: its newest security researcher is just five years old.

Kristoffer Von Hassel got the attention of the software giant's engineers when he discovered a back door into the popular Xbox gaming system, ABC-10 News reported.

"How awesome is that! Just being five years old and being able to find a vulnerability and latch onto that. I thought that was pretty cool," said the boy's father Robert Davies, who works in computer security.

But instead of a hefty salary, Kristoffer—who wants to be a gamer when he grows up—is getting four games, $50, and a year-long subscription to Xbox Live from Microsoft.

The report said Kristoffer's parents had noticed something was amiss shortly after Christmas 2013, when they noticed he was logging into his father's Xbox Live account and playing games there.

When asked by his father how he did it, Kristoffer typed in a wrong password for his father's account, then typing in space keys and hitting enter at a verification screen to gain access to a backdoor.

“I was like yea!” said Kristoffer, but added he got nervous because he thought his father was going to find out.

Other conquests

Davies admitted this was not the first time the boy found software bugs, saying he had "figured out vulnerabilities three or four times.

And the Xbox is not Kristoffer's only conquest—at age 1, he bypassed the toddler lock screen on a cell phone by holding down the home key.
            
Father and son then reported the bug to Microsoft, which eventually patched the bug and acknowledged Kristopher on their website in a list of security researchers.

"We're always listening to our customers and thank them for bringing issues to our attention. We take security seriously at Xbox and fixed the issue as soon as we learned about it," the ABC-10 report quoted Microsoft as saying. — VC, GMA News
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