Facebook honoured Manipur engineer Zonel Sougaijam for discovering a bug on WhatsApp

Imphal: The Manipur engineer, who was awarded $5,000 (approximately Rs 3.4 lakh) by Facebook for reporting a WhatsApp bug, is now pursuing his dream with the bounty award. A passionate photographer and videographer, 22-year-old Zonel Sougaijam is working on his passion and buying gear to be on top of his game.

The bug violated the privacy of a user, by enabling a person on voice call through WhatsApp to upgrade to a video call without the other’s permission. For this discovery, Sougaijam was inducted in Facebook’s ‘Hall of Fame 2019’ list where he ranks 17th, as on June 28, among 94 people.

On the award, he said, “I think I am going to save some of the award money just in case if I need it in future, but I will be spending most of it on buying photography gears because I love taking photographs.”

Zonel Sougaijam (left) with his mother ArambamTilotama Devi (right) and his grandmother in Imphal, Manipur

Born to Sougaijam Voumeshwar, a former lawyer, and Arambam Tilotama Devi, a school teacher cum craftswoman, Sougaijam detected a bug during a voice call through WhatsApp in early March this year.

Also Read: Manipur boy reports WhatsApp bug, included in FB ‘Hall of Fame’

Speaking with EastMojo, the civil engineer said, “During a voice call through WhatsApp, the bug used to allow the caller to upgrade it to a video call without the authorisation and knowledge of the receiver. The caller was then able to see what the other person was doing, violating the privacy of the receiver.”

Most of us use similar products but some exceptional ones go the extra mile to script history for the better. This young lad from Wangkei Leikai of Imphal East is a perfect example of this. He alerted Facebook about the presence of a bug in WhatsApp that breaches billions of social media users’ privacy.

When asked about his preceding experience on the Facebook programme, Sougaijam said that he came across the information while reading an article two years ago that one can report such bugs through the bug bounty programme.

The programme deals with matters of violation of privacy on its social media platforms.

Meanwhile, commenting on the recent cases of security breaches encountered by the social media giant, Sougaijam assured users of Facebook’s safety measurements being well in place.

“I am not going to be scared of using Facebook because they (Facebook) are doing a very good job in protecting the privacy of their users,” he added.

Besides focusing on his career as a civil engineer, Sougaijam aims to continue hunting bugs on social media platforms and improve skilling on photography, which is one of his sheer interests.

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