The boy contacted Instagram via email after discovering that he could delete other people’s comments when he inputted malicious code into the comment field of the application.
“I tried if Instagram’s comment field could handle harmful code. It didn’t. I found out I can delete other people’s comments from there,” Jani told Iltalehti Newspaper.
“I could’ve deleted anyone’s, like Justin Bieber’s comments from there.”
A few days after he informed Instagram of the technical fault, he received a reply that the flaw had been fixed, and as a reward, he received $10,000.
The boy said he had been enthusiastic about coding games for years.
“Then I started to get interested on information security and started watching Youtube videos on it,” he said.
He had been building up his skills on his own with his twin brother.
Jani’s father expressed surprise that his son had learned so much about coding and data security.
“I was very surprised that Jani has gotten so far already. I have no idea about that social media stuff,” the father said.
The brothers have searched for vulnerabilities for some time and even found a few. They have been so small that no reward has been given out though.
Jani did a presentation on information security and the Instagram vulnerability on his Finnish lessons. Idea from the presentation came from a meeting between Jani, his parents and the teacher.
The teachers and classmates did not believe Jani first.
“They were very confused and amazed. They didn’t know I can do this kind of stuff,” Jani said.
Jani plans to buy a new bike and a football out of the money.
He dreams of a career in information security.
“It’s my dream job. Information security is very important.” he said.