17:44 GMT03 December 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India has seen a breed of young enthusiasts take to ethical hacking as a lucrative career choice with a bright future, due to the increasing threat of cyber attacks on businesses across industries, which have multiplied in an era which is becoming more and more digital.

    Meet 23-year-old Shivam Vashist from north India, a hacker associated with San Francisco-based HackerOne, which offers vulnerability coordination and a bug bounty platform, and boasts of clients like Starbucks, Instagram, Goldman Sachs, Twitter, Zomato and OnePlus.

    Better known by his handle @Bull on Twitter, Vashist is a full-time hacker who reportedly makes over $125,000 every year finding computer bugs, reports Indian news agency IANS.

    Over the past few years, he has taught his brother the ropes of hacking, helped his father retire with peace of mind, and taken the family on sightseeing tours across the world.

    "On average, I am spending about 15 hours a week hacking. However, it varies from time to time, depending on my schedule. Some days, I might be working on something for days continuously, while at other times, I may not be hacking for weeks," said Vashist.

    In the Asia-Pacific region, the number of hacker-powered security programmes has grown by 30 percent year on year, says Vashist.

    "In fact, HackerOne''s ''Hacker-Powered Security Report 2019'' shows that $2,336,024 of the bounties awarded in 2018 went to the ethical hacker community in India," said Vashist.

    He started learning more about computers and the ethical hacking world when he was 19, and his family was worried in the beginning.

    "However, they came to understand what I was doing over time, and know that an ethical hacker is completely legal, and a viable career. Since then, they have been very supportive," he added.

    In August, HackerOne revealed that hackers earned $21 million in just a year reporting vulnerabilities via various bug bounty opportunities as governments' efforts to fix malware increased a whopping 214 percent globally.

    "Hacking gives me a high when I am able to think of creative ways to tackle the challenges and discover vulnerabilities that no one has yet found," said Vashist.


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