Mazin Ahmed. I’m originally from Sudan, and based in the United Arab Emirates. I started participating on bug bounty programs since 2013. I have been intrested in hacking and security since a young age. I liked breaking locks, having things do things that is not supposed to do. In 2013, I dedicated myself into the information security career.
My life is a mix of family, university, work, and bug bounty hunting. I’m working as an information security specialist and a penetration tester. Also, I’m establishing my first security start-up this year.
A typical day is starting at 5:00AM, I spend a time at checking messages and emails. Then I start reading news, new write-ups, researches, tools, and exploits. At, 7:00AM, I head to university. I finish around 5PM, I come back, where I take a rest, and start working again on my TODO lists until 12PM. I close the day by reviewing the day’s tasks and preparing tasks for the next day. Sometimes the time changes, but this is my typical day routine.
I do bug bounty hunting whenever I have time from work. In previous years, I have been doing bug bounty hunting the entire time. I enjoy bug bounty hunting, especially cool and challenging programs.
In case you find it boring, I really love my life :)
I’m mainly active on BugCrowd and HackerOne. Popular programs that I reported security vulnerabilities on are: Facebook, Twitter, Oracle, LinkedIn, United States Department of Defense, and many…
I used to spend 30 hours a week on bug bounty hunting. Currenlty, due to time shortage, I spend 7-10 hours a week on bug bounty hunting.
It took me around a week as far as I remember. It was a cross-site scripting vulnerability on an Oracle-owned service.
Most of the bugs are interesting in a way or another actually. I liked where I wrote struts-pwn, the exploit for CVE-2017-5638, and used it to scan a number of US. Military services. I found 4 full-blown RCEs!
Also, I remember the time I got multiple SQL injection on Symantec that allowed me to access 60+ DBs of Symantec.
I’m living in a nice hacking adventure! :)
I have been interested in information security for years. It’s my hobby essentially.
If you’re not using Feedly, you should definitely use it.
I self-taght my self web security, I didn’t learn in it a school or university. It was difficult initially, as I didn’t know where and how start. With enough dedication, it was possible to reach the current level. I’m always learning, and will never stop at a certain place.
I collabrate with many awesome hackers. I mostly collabarate with: Sebastian Neef @gehaxelt, Justin Kennedy @jstnkndy, @EdOverflow, Ahmed Aboul-Ela @aboul3la, Ben Sadeghipour @nahamsec, Oliver Beg @smiegles.
Information gathering is always the key. I like how we can sometimes finish an egagement without even touching the company’s network using open-source intellegince (yes, there are actual hackers that does that!).
I use an internally-built application my start-up is developing that does almost all the pre-testing. From this point, testing is way much easy for me.
Scripting is a mandatory skill that every person in security should learn. I write a lot of quick Shell and Python scripts to automate work.
I try my best to cover as much as possible. I take longer time on larger scopes to make sure I don’t miss anything.
I’m interested in high severity that can have an actual real-time impact, and creative bugs that might not necessary severe, but creative how it could be exploited.
I use Burp Suite professional for web-related testing. I also, use Dirsearch for directory brute-force. BFAC for backup-artificats testing. SQLMAP for SQL injection exploitation. I like httpscreenshot, very interesting approach for pre-testing.
I spend time in building my fuzzing lists manually. I like to take time to get ready before any engagment or bug bounty hunting session.
I also enjoy taking open-source security tools and improve it, then using it in bug bounty hunting.
I mostly test it manually. I focus on OOB and time-based testing on server-side vulnerabilities. I always setup an external server to receive connections. Also, Burp Suite Collaborator Client is very handy.
Always have in mind that there is something that was missed. Also, have in mind that companies are constantly pushing code. New code means potential created vulnerability.
Of course, knowing how things work will make your works way easier. I recommend learning programming and scripting.
Anything that sounds good :)
I spend time with family and friends.
Favourite sport is mixed-martial arts and generally all sports that are full of intense.
I haven’t reached 20 yet, and I’m satisfied with my professional life, and what I have reached till today (and I have hundreds of goals and plans for the future). Probably the best thing to say for a person in my age.
Bug bounty helped me approaching the world of information security. Without bug bounty programs, I don’t think I would have make it.
Never give up learning, reading, and practicing. Never stop at a certain place,
I’m planning to work more on reverse engineering. It’s a very interesting area for sure. Also, hardware hacking is really interesting.
I have written a guideline on “starting in Infosec - 101”. Feel free to read it at http://blog.mazinahmed.net/2017/08/starting-in-infosec-101.html
What normal human beings put on their toasts :)
Overall, I don’t face a lot of bad experiences. But here are my worst experieneces: - Marking an account takeover as an invalid finding. - Marking an RCE as won’t fix issue.
I can’t specify a person, as every hacker I know is very talented at a certain area. I would collaborate with as much hackers as I can :)
Pay on triage should be mandatory for programs.
ATOM, nano, gedit, and geany are my favourites