by LAUREN CODLING
AN “ethical hacker” commended by tech giants Google and Apple has revealed the origins of his interest in cyber security, attributing it to his time growing up in India.
Prabhjot Dunglay, 22, is a recent computer science graduate from the University of Leicester. Originally from Delhi, the tech whiz has made a name for himself in cyber security after helping a number of technology companies such as Apple, Google, Dell and SurveyMonkey.
Known as a ‘bug bounty hunter’, Singh finds vulnerabilities in tech company’s infrastructures by ‘ethically hacking’ into their systems. When he reports back the vulnerabilities, it means the businesses can secure themselves from hackers.
“If hackers find some loopholes in companies, they usually target them and then they spread mischievous activities,” he told Eastern Eye. “So, my idea is to secure companies by finding bugs or vulnerabilities and to let them know that there are needs they need to improve on in that particular area.”
Recently, Dunglay was acknowledged by Apple in their ‘hall of fame’ when he discovered a leak in their system. Dunglay’s interest in computing began at an early age while growing up in India. His family invested in a computer when he was around 10 years old, and Dunglay discovered his passion. “I used to spend the whole day playing games and stuff,” he said. “I was always interested in how technology worked”
However, his father grew concerned that Dunglay was spending too much time on the computer and was ignoring his studies. In response, he set up a password system to discourage Dunglay from accessing the desktop. To his father’s bemusement, Dunglay would always find ways to bypass the restrictions. “I got past whatever password they were putting on the computer,” he laughed. “But I think that impressed my dad and he ended up buying me a new desktop.”
As a teenager, Dunglay became intrigued by cyber security and started pursuing online courses to widen his knowledge of the topic. He completed an ethical hacking course when he was 17, just before he took up his place at university in Leicester.
For the first two years in university, however, he was unable to focus on ethical hacking as there were so few module related to cyber security. “Even today, most universities don’t have cyber security modules,” he said. “Even though there is a boom for cyber-security, there are very limited universities which offer those courses.”
In 2018, Dunglay completed a placement in cyber security. It offered him the chance to recall his previous experience in ethical hacking – and he was hooked. He started reaching out to top tech companies and reported vulnerabilities to them. If the issues were valid, he would be paid for his work.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak in March, Dunglay lost his part time job. However, he was able to carry on as an ethical hacker as the work is remote. “With this, I can still support myself with some income,” he said. “That’s been pretty helpful.”
Dunglay is now looking for full-time work in cyber security. His family are keen for him to follow his dream. “They’re happy because they actually want me to pursue something which I’m passionate about,” he said. “I hope they are proud of me.”