Kulgam Techie’s ‘Hall of Fame’ Recognition from NASA and Apple

In an inspiring tale from the Zangulpora village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, Muneeb Amin Bhat, a young cybersecurity researcher and ethical hacker, has soared to remarkable heights with his recent achievements. Muneeb’s knack for identifying vulnerabilities led to a significant discovery on the NASA website, earning him a coveted spot in their ‘Hall of Fame’. Not stopping there, in 2023, he also uncovered a severe data vulnerability in Apple’s system, threatening the data security of 15,000 users among other issues.

Discussing his groundbreaking work, Muneeb shared, “I was working on NASA and found some data-leaking vulnerabilities, which they have now validated. They acknowledged my efforts and mentioned me in their ‘Hall of Fame’,” he proudly stated.

Muneeb’s passion for cybersecurity began early, tracing back to his days in 5th grade. His journey wasn’t paved with academic degrees in the field but fueled by self-taught skills acquired from YouTube, Google, and various online articles and research materials. “I learned it by myself, and I am continuously learning more as there is a lot to master in this field,” he affirmed, underscoring the vastness of cybersecurity knowledge.

His academic path saw a unique turn when he shifted from pursuing Computer Sciences at SSM College to a B.Sc through distance education after dropping out in his second year. This decision was driven by a desire to chase his true passion rather than conforming to conventional academic pursuits. “I couldn’t manage both. I decided to follow my passion instead of the trend,” Muneeb explained.

Muneeb’s achievements aren’t limited to NASA and Apple; he has identified and reported vulnerabilities across numerous websites and domains, securing them from potential data breaches and risks. His ethical reporting and diligent efforts have fortified the cybersecurity defenses of many platforms.

Looking ahead, Muneeb plans to deepen his engagement in the field by pursuing a formal course in cybersecurity. His ambition is to secure a role in a major company as a cybersecurity analyst or researcher, thereby contributing to the robustness of their digital defenses.

His talent isn’t just confined to his personal ambitions; Muneeb is determined to offer his expertise to firms both in India and internationally. He highlights a significant gap in many Kashmir-based companies, which lack a responsible disclosure program, underlining an important area of improvement for local businesses.

Initially facing skepticism from his family about his unconventional career path, Muneeb now enjoys their full support after proving his potential and securing notable recognitions. This support has been instrumental in propelling him towards his goals, making his journey a testament to pursuing one’s passion against the odds.

Muneeb’s work is of paramount importance in today’s digital age where data breaches and cybersecurity threats loom large. He warns, “Hackers do things either for their entertainment or to harm organizations by hacking users’ data. In this digital era, cybersecurity attacks are rampant.” He points out the strategic implications of cybersecurity, suggesting that digital warfare is becoming a critical aspect of international relations.

Moreover, Muneeb believes in the growing importance of cybersecurity, machine learning, AI, and blockchain development, advocating for these subjects to be incorporated into educational curriculums at schools and colleges. “In the coming five years… knowing how to secure data from cyber attacks is crucial now and will be even more so in the future,” he concluded, emphasizing the significance of cybersecurity awareness and skill development for the next generation.

Muneeb Amin Bhat’s story is not only about personal achievement but also sheds light on the critical role of cybersecurity in safeguarding our digital world. His journey from a small village in Kulgam to earning recognitions from global tech giants like NASA and Apple is a shining example for budding tech enthusiasts across the globe.

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