Prize for Fylde hacker who cracked Windows

Paedophile searching the net.
Paedophile searching the net.

James Forshaw might just be the only person to be positively associated with hacking this year.

For the expert has been awarded a bounty of more than $100,000 for finding his way into software by one of the world’s biggest computer corporations.

The 35-year-old former Lytham St Annes High School pupil has been handed the record amount of cash from Microsoft and sent a personal congratulations from its top ranking bosses.

The praise comes because, put simply, he was the first person to discover a new way of getting around in-built protections in Windows.

This will give Microsoft a chance to add extra safeguards and further protect users of their software.

He said: “Microsoft Windows contains a number of features, ‘exploit mitigations’ which have been developed to make it more difficult for someone to exploit software security flaws to get control of a user’s computer.

“The challenge was to find a software technique which bypasses their mitigations and still allowed me to get control of a user’s computer.

“The reason they pay such a high figure is that a technique of this sort is potentially very valuable to people who want to compromise a user’s computer for financial gain or private information.”

The bulk of the $109,400 bounty will go to James’s employers at Context Information Security in London, although he’s been promised at least a cut of it to treat his girlfriend.

And it’s not the first time he’s been able to splash out after ‘winning’ a hacking contest – he also took home $20,000 from a competition in Canada earlier this year.

James, who grew up on Buckingham Road, Ansdell, added: “There’s two sides to my enjoyment of it, one is the intellectual puzzle and challenge, and there’s an altruistic side, a feeling of satisfaction of being able to make people’s computers more secure.”

Microsoft has said finding out about the new “mitigation bypass technique” would help it protect users against a whole new class of cyber attacks.

Katie Moussoris, a Microsoft security expert, said: “James not only made history by receiving a total of $109,400 from our bounty programs, he also helped us make our customers safer.

“On behalf of over a billion people worldwide – thank you.”

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