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Boy bug hunter nabs $3,000 from Mozilla

A 12-year-old discovers a rather serious security flaw in Firefox. And thankfully, Mozilla recently raised its bug bounty from a lowly $500.

It is no longer worthwhile for the average 12-year-old to make 20 bucks for cleaning someone's car. It is certainly pointless for prepimpled youths to make a little pocket money for, say, cleaning the house or, perhaps, washing their armpits.

Not when there's Mozilla ready to give them $3,000 for a little overdue diligence.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Alex Miller is one 12-year-old who knows exactly which side of his bread he wishes buttered. The moment he saw that the benevolent bosses of Firefox were offering 3,000 big ones in order to eradicate just one bug, Alex bored down into the Internet's ether.

It used to be that Mozilla offered only $500 to those who happened to find major security flaws in its digital innards. Two months ago, management deemed it wise to multiply this figure by 6. Perhaps the recession is, indeed, over.

Sometimes bugs are not easy to find. CC Ritwikdey/Flickr

Alex thought he'd found something messy in the browser really rather quickly. However, this kink wasn't quite kinky enough to qualify for the $3,000. It took another 10 days of 90-minutes-a-day analysis before a large zit on the face of the running program's memory stared at Alex.

Brandon Sterne, Mozilla' security program manager, told the Mercury News: "Mozilla depends on contributors like these for our very, sort of, survival. Mozilla is a community mostly of volunteers. We really encourage people to get involved in the community. You don't have to be a brilliant 12-year-old to do that."

Miller seems to have guaranteed his own, sort of, survival for some time to come. While he reportedly said he will donate $100 to a nonprofit called Unconditional Love Animal Rescue (and called me to say that he, indeed, has made the donation), he is surely now in a position to create his own start-up in order to attract girls.

Or should he try being the star of a bug-hunting reality show first?