Portrait of hacker Duong Ngoc Thai: From the poor boy to the senior security engineer of Google
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Portrait of hacker Duong Ngoc Thai: From the poor boy to the senior security engineer of Google


Hacker Duong Ngoc Thai is probably a very familiar name to the Vietnamese online community, especially for those working in cybersecurity. Come from a poor village in District 4, HCMC. In Ho Chi Minh City, but with a spirit of progress, determination and passion, Mr. Thai is currently a Senior Security Engineer at Google, one of the largest technology companies in the world.

From a boy in a poor neighborhood who only knows how to use a computer to play games …

The place where Thai was born and raised, everyone has a hard life. “Here, stealing can also be a profession. Someone around there is someone who can learn, the family has no money to study, someone with money cannot study ”, Mr. Thai shared.

Therefore, according to Mr. Thai, the greatest luck in his life is being fully educated by his parents. Mr. Thai came to Information Technology by accident. He recalls that when he was in 10th grade, he was acquainted with computers. At first, his concept of IT was simply Photoshop, Corel, and most of the time he used computers to play games.

Playing to the point of being bored with the game, Thai accidentally found a basic programming guide. “At that time, I was like someone who fell down a cliff to collect martial arts secrets. The more I read, the more I’m drawn to the computer, but not for playing games but for writing programs ”Duong Ngoc Thai excitedly recounted.

During the years studying IT at the University of Technology (VNU Ho Chi Minh City), Mr. Thai studied while working because his parents only gave tuition and other expenses he had to take care of. He immediately thought of a plan to work part-time for foreign companies, the remuneration he received was up to 10 USD / 1 hour.

Duong Ngoc Thai, Senior Security Engineer at Google

The part-time job has brought Thai many valuable knowledge. In the third year of university, Duong Ngoc Thai dropped out of school because she was accepted to work at Dong A Bank. Then, from 2007 to 2010, he assumed the position of Head of Information Security Department, in charge of confidentiality for Dong A Bank.

Free work, so simple that he was bored. He is involved in many other projects and even fumbles with security holes. In September 2009, Mr. Thai was famous in the world when he discovered a serious security hole in the photo sharing service Flickr, which was then owned by Yahoo.

Also during this time, Mr. Thai continued to be noticed by the global cybersecurity community when he discovered a dangerous security vulnerability of Microsoft, which could affect millions of websites worldwide. In January 2011, the attack technique to detect vulnerabilities of Microsoft that Mr. Thai devised was also voted as the best attack technique in the world in 2010 by the world security community.

In October 2010, Duong Ngoc Thai decided to quit her job at Dong A Bank to seek new challenges.

… to Google’s Senior Security Engineer

After more than a month of unemployment, Duong Ngoc Thai thought about going abroad to seek opportunities for herself. Mr. Thai interviewed with a British bank, everything went well but in the end the bank did not mention anything about signing the contract.

Shortly thereafter, Duong Ngoc Thai saw a friend in the US posting recruitment information on Twitter. He immediately applied for the job and just 5 minutes later received a call to schedule an interview. Mr. Thai did not believe he was recruited until he received a job offer.

Anh Thai during a normal working day at Google

His American dream seemed to have vanished when he got an H1B visa, he needed a university degree, which he didn’t have. But luckily for Thai, he is qualified enough to prove that he has the same qualifications as a university graduate. Therefore, his H1B visa application is still accepted.

As a Security Engineer at Google, Duong Ngoc Thai has made many discoveries that greatly affect the safety of the global internet. His findings are cited in many scientific papers, taught at prestigious universities and published in major newspapers around the world. In which, the most known is the three most famous attack techniques that Thai and his partner created, namely BEAST, CRIME and POODLE.

Currently, Mr. Thai shares that he is the leader of Security / Cryptocurrency team at Google. His job is to help users safer when using Gmail, Google Search, Android, YouTube and other Google products …

Besides, Anh Thai and his team also regularly have projects that contribute to the overall safety of the internet. Two of these projects are Google Tink and Project Wycheproof. Google Tink is a cross-platform open source library designed to simplify common cryptographic operations, while Project Wycheproof is a cryptographic library vulnerability tester. Currently the source code of both Google Tink and Project Wycheproof are available on GitHub.

TechTalk via quantrimang.com

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