Samy's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Code Trip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Hollywood, CA

SAMY KAMKAR

Hacker / Security Research

“In technology, if you can show the output, no one is going to question anything else.”

INTERESTS:

Entrepreneurship Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Determination Hard Work Hobbies & Pastimes Passion Community Perseverance Acceptance Experience Self-Reflection Opportunity Doubt Focus Individualism Fulfillment Dedication

FOUNDATION:

Working Independently

TAGS:

challenges, combining interests, community, computer programing, conflict, consequences, effort, focus, fulfillment, hacking, helping others, individuality, knowledge, learning, learning experiences, mistake, noise, perspective, positive, security

BIOGRAPHY:

  • When he was a child, his mom bought him a home computer, and he started hanging out in chat rooms.
  • One day, someone in a chatroom made his computer crash; after he was done freaking out, he thought, “That was so cool!” and became obsessed with hacking.
  • When he was 15, he dropped out of high school and his mom made him get a job; he started writing and selling software from home.
  • When that job no longer interested him, he left to co-found his own company, Fonality—he was 17 years old.
  • Two years later, he wrote the infamous “Samy worm”; the worm spread to over one million Myspace users in 20 hours, making it the fastest-spreading virus of all time.
  • The Secret Service raided his home and confiscated his electronics; a court banned him from technology for three years.
  • Says he never wanted to be malicious about hacking; he was more interested in finding and using computer vulnerabilities in new ways.
  • He now alerts companies to any vulnerabilities that he finds in their products so that they can fix them and improve consumer safety.

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