Hacker drops plan to live-stream attack on Zuckerberg's Facebook page

A Taiwanese hacker planned to take down the Facebook page of Mark Zuckerberg (above). PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - An indie Taiwanese hacker said he will not proceed with a plan to take down Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page and broadcast it live on Sunday (Sept 30).

Self-professed bug bounty-hunter Chang Chi-yuan, who ferrets out software flaws in return for cash, said on Facebook this week that he would live-stream an endeavour to delete the billionaire's account at 6pm local time from his own Facebook page.

But the lanky youngster, who turns 24 this year based on past interviews, said he will refrain from doing so after receiving global attention following his announcement, which was reported by Bloomberg News earlier on Friday.

"I am cancelling my live feed, I have reported the bug to Facebook and I will show proof when I get bounty from Facebook," Chang, who has more than 26,000 followers on Facebook, told Bloomberg News.

In a post on his Facebook page on Friday, Chang said he was cancelling the attack on the Facebook chief executive and broadcast to avoid unnecessary trouble.

"There will still be a lot of people questioning my ability even after I find many bugs and earn a copious amount of bounty, and I shouldn't try to prove myself by toying with Zuck's account," he wrote.

Cyber-enthusiasts from India to the US routinely expose loopholes in corporate websites and software, earning small financial rewards. It is unusual, however, for so-called white-hat hackers to do so in real time.

Chang, a minor celebrity at home who's gone on talk shows to discuss his exploits, was reportedly sued by a local bus operator after infiltrating their systems and buying a ticket for just NT$1 (4 Singapore cents).

He has published a gamut of claims - none of which could be independently verified - including attacks on Apple and Tesla And his Facebook account was listed among eight "special contributors" in Line Corp's 2016 bug-hunters' hall of fame.

Facebook, which like many Silicon Valley giants runs a thriving bug-bounty programme, did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours. The social media company is under the gun on a host of issues from privacy to its handling of election interference and hate speech, and can ill-afford trouble with basic cybersecurity.

"I don't want to be a proper hacker, and I don't even want to be a hacker at all," Chang said in a recent post. "I'm just bored and try to dabble so that I can earn some money."

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