766
8 min 34 sec

Vigil Anti-Hacker Logs $110,000 Profit

A high school student uses ethical hacking to discover computer bugs, earning as much as $20,000 a month.
Developer Hustle High Profit Low Startup Potential Service

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What It's About

A hacker deploys great power for great responsibility.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Hacking & Experimentation
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Samuel recommends that you enjoy your side hustle and be interested in working on it. If you are dreading spending time on it or don’t feel excited about it, it will become more of a chore than a reward. Specifically, with ethical hacking, you spend many hours on a computer, so if you don’t like computers, this is not the right side hustle for you.

Fun Fact

A few times a year, there are Global Live Hacking Events in cities all around the world. These events connect security teams with some of the top hackers in the world. Samuel has been able to visit places like San Francisco, Miami, New York City, Vegas, and L.A. for these events. He said it’s really fun because they pay for his travel and provide accommodation and fun events and really nice swag.

Notes from Chris

Episode 766

Samuel Curry is no stranger when it comes to side hustles. From a young age, he learned the value of earning money. From selling soda cans on the street corner to selling watches and jewelry through e-commerce sites years later, he’s continually upped his game. After learning e-commerce, he shifted his interests further to learning about computer security. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a fascination.

When Samuel was in high school, a friend introduced him to a website called HackerOne which provides training, resources, and assignments for those wanting to learn about the world of ethical hacking and what’s known as “bug bounty.” If you’re confused by the term “ethical hacking” or think I just said “bugs bunny,” let me break it down for you.

Ethical hacking is sort of like being a vigilante for computer security. You’re doing something that’s good for companies and in some ways the world. Ethical Hackers help find bugs or security breaches on websites, which is extremely important when protecting consumer information.

Bug Bounty is a system that rewards friendly hackers who uncover vulnerabilities in some of the most important internet software. The program is managed by a panel of volunteers selected from the security community. Basically, they provide compensation to people for finding problems across various platforms and websites. And the outcome can be very profitable for some.

Samuel spent six months learning the basics and began allocating the extra time he had outside of school to focus on his new hobby. He would spend about 30 hours each week practicing on various platforms and studying about security. Most of his time working was spent between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am. [Information about his grades was not accessible at the time of recording.]

Samuel spent about 3 years using these platforms to find clients and projects. His biggest success to date earned him $17,000 as a result of compromising an entire website and reporting his findings to the company! In 2018, he brought in an extra $110,000 entirely through bug bounties.

His earnings haven’t always been so grand, though, and they do fluctuate. Some months he might make $20,000 and other months he won’t make anything at all.

He struggled in the beginning with spending too much time working on his hustle. It created an obsessive work ethic that would leave him feeling burned out. Once he finally let go of the need to spend excess hours on this, he found more freedom in his work. He went from working on it every day to only a few days a week. He found that by having more concentrated focus, he was able to produce better results, and in turn, make more money.

Samuel plans to continue working as a security consultant while maintaining his bug-hunting side hustle.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • SamCurry.net: Learn more about the anti-hacking services that Samuel offers over on his website!
  • HackerOne & Bugcrowd: Two sites that offer training for hacking beginners and resources for those wanting to level up their knowledge
  • WordPress: Samuel used WordPress to setup SamCurry.net, and here you can learn how to install your own WordPress site in 5 minutes

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"At a certain point, you have a mental switch where a side hustle you love doing is something you become financially dependent on. To avoid this situation, put your side hustle money in a separate account and think of it as more of a savings rather than regular earned income."
—Samuel Curry #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau