Alexandria teen honored by Pentagon for bug bounty skills

Alexandria, Va. — While many people use their computers for entertainment or social media one Alexandria teenager has been able to build a pretty impressive resume and put money in his bank account while standing out in the field of cyber security.

David Dworken, 18, was one of only two people (out of more than 1,400 participants) to be recognized recently for his work in the Hacking the Pentagon bug bounty program.

Bug bounties have been used by private companies to discover issues with their websites and software that can be exploited. Dworken said some of his efforts have led to free t-shirts and others are worth money but this effort also brought out some patriotic pride.

Dworken said his interest in hunting for vulnerabilities in websites began two years ago in his high school computer science class. He and a few classmates were able to find inefficiencies his high school website.

That discovery spurred him into the world of bug bounties, working on projects for companies like Uber and AT&T.

“I got called out of the blue by Yahoo and was offered and job,” sad Dworken. “I had to tell them I was still in high school and then asked for an internship.”

Dworken said what he enjoys about his role finding holes in companies’ websites is that anyone who can keep up with the code can contribute.

For the Pentagon project, keeping up meant juggling his classwork and college-prep tests with hours of research needed to find windows in webpages that could expose the personal information of both employees and visitors.

Dworken is preparing to go to college at Northeastern University in the fall.