By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Khalil Shreateh has a degree in computer information, but he’s currently unemployed. What’s surprising is that as a computer expert, he owns a five-year-old laptop with missing keys and a broken battery. Despite all these shortcomings, however, Shreateh managed to find a flaw in one of the biggest websites in the world: Facebook.
Earlier this month, Shreateh contacted the Facebook security team to warn them about the bug – which allowed him to make posts on anyone’s wall – but they didn’t listen to him. When they ignored him, Shreateh took matters into his own hands and hacked Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page. If that name sounds familiar, it’s for a reason. Zuckerberg is the founder and owner of Facebook!
According to Matt Jones, a member of the Facebook security team, they didn’t ignore him on purpose. Shreateh’s warning was only one of hundreds they get every day, and it didn’t help that he didn’t speak very good English. “For background, as a few other commenters have pointed out, we get hundreds of reports every day. Many of our best reports come from people whose English isn’t great – though this can be challenging, it’s something we work with just fine and we have paid out over $1 million to hundreds of reporters.”
However, Shreateh didn’t get paid. Since he hacked into a user page without their permission, he’s not allowed to receive a reward. It’s too bad, especially since he considers himself a white hat – a person who finds computer program flaws and reports them. He definitely doesn’t think of himself as a black hat – a hacker who finds flaws and uses them for personal gain. I say, let’s call him a “gray hat,” since he did something without permission but for a good reason.
“I could sell [information about the flaw] on the black [hat] hackers’ websites and… make more money than Facebook could pay me,” said Shreateh. “But for me – I am a good guy. I don’t deal with the black [hat] stuff.” Still, he was hoping for a little reward to help him through his tough times. “I never [said], ‘I want $4,000 or $5,000’… [but] I really needed that money.”
Despite the fact he didn’t receive money from the social media site, Shreateh is glad he still has the skills to hack one of the biggest websites on the internet, and with a faulty laptop at that!