• Saturday, June 15, 2024

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22-year-old Indian earns place in NASA’s ‘Hall of Fame’ for cybersecurity

Originally from the village of Zungalpora in South Kashmir, Bhat’s journey to this remarkable achievement is inspiring. (Photo credit: @bhatmuneeb_)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

A 22-year-old techie from the Kulgam district in Jammu and Kashmir, Muneeb Amin Bhat, has been honored with a spot in NASA’s ‘Hall of Fame’. This recognition follows his successful identification of security vulnerabilities in NASA’s systems, reported through their Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP).

Originally from the village of Zungalpora in South Kashmir, Bhat’s journey is marked by perseverance and dedication. Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Applications (BCA) from IGNOU, he had earlier dropped out of a B.Tech program at a private engineering college to focus on cybersecurity.

Bhat’s cybersecurity skills were first recognized by Apple’s ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2023. His latest achievement with NASA highlights his ongoing contributions to the field. While specific details of the vulnerabilities he identified remain confidential, they involved the potential exposure of sensitive data.

Bhat shared his excitement and gratitude on Instagram, reflecting on his fascination with space exploration and his recent contributions to NASA’s cybersecurity. He emphasized that his success in ethical hacking was the result of a decade of hard work. “My success in ethical hacking didn’t come overnight; it is the result of 10 years of hard work,” he said. His expertise has also been acknowledged by other major organizations, including Oracle, McDonald’s, Intel, USAA, and Indeed.

Under NASA’s VDP guidelines, Bhat followed strict protocols, halting his testing and reporting his findings immediately upon discovering issues. NASA confirmed the validity of his reports and honored him by including his name in their ‘Hall of Fame’.

Bhat stresses the ongoing risks in the digital landscape, stating, “No matter how big an organization is, if it is connected to a network, it is at risk of being hacked. Organizations worldwide seek ethical hackers to improve their security. Despite having their own cybersecurity teams, they invite hackers to test and report vulnerabilities to ensure foolproof security.”

NASA’s Vulnerability Disclosure Program aims to leverage the skills of researchers like Bhat to maintain the security and integrity of their systems. This program allows researchers to test specific NASA websites and systems, report any discovered issues, and collaborate with NASA to address them, ensuring that sensitive information remains protected.

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