Interview with a White Hat Hacker

An interview with Chad Douglas, a White Hat hacker who is obsessed with cybersecurity and helping protect us from losing our crypto assets.

3 years ago   •   3 min read

By Mathilda de Villiers
Photo by Nahel Abdul Hadi / Unsplash

Chad Douglas is obsessed with security. Looking at his router set up at his home, you’d think you have just stepped into The Matrix. But to him, this is such a vital part of operating in the crypto world and he feels concerned that most people don’t understand the importance of cybersecurity, or how easily they could lose their crypto assets!

With a foundation in computer programming and computer networking, Chad took to learning cryptography with ease and has built extensive knowledge and expertise on a journey that started when Bitcoin was born.

Today, Chad is a certified computer hacker, specifically doing bug-bounty hunting. Lockdown threw him into this world in a big way. He pokes holes in systems, finds vulnerabilities in companies and informs those companies about his findings. Black Hat hackers would exploit these vulnerabilities, or hold companies to ransom.

Chad Douglas

DeFi really started booming last year, which also showed up in way more cybersecurity “hacks”. In talking with people in the crypto community, Chad found that everyone knows the basics - keeping your private key secure and having a Ledger hardware device. But few people realises the true threat of being hacked and that even your Ledger device and Metamask can be hacked.

Everyone in crypto talks about security, but few pay much attention to really keeping thier assets secure.

You are vulnerable!

Chad describes some of the attack vectors we are exposed to as ordinary crypto users. When we authorise blockchain applications to interact with our MetaMask or Keplr wallet, we can accidentally approve malicious applications that, in effect, let a hacker into your wallet, where they have unlimited access to all your assets, without you being aware anything is awry.

Here's a tool to check if you are vulnerable on the Ethereum Network.

White hats to the rescue!

Knowing how hackers operate is essential for every crypto asset-holder. Keeping the crypto community safe is what white-hat hackers do, crowd-sourcing cybersecurity through commuities such as Bug Crowd and HackerOne.

#1 Crowdsourced Cybersecurity Platform | Bugcrowd
Bugcrowd teams with elite security researchers to reduce risk & improve security ROI through our bug bounty, pen testing, & vulnerability disclosure programs.

Ethereum is an example of a bug bounty hunting opportunity. Anyone can attempt to hack Ethereum’s blockchain and receive a reward for discovering and reporting vulnerabilities. Other networks that are registered with hacking communities include Chainlink, Stellar Coin and XRP.

Many people think that blockchains aren’t hackable, which is true to some extent, but not guaranteed.

Securing the State of the World

For Chad, changing the state of the world requires good security. The internet is about to get very, very fast. In South Africa, where Chad is based, people aren’t used to these kinds of speed. Higer speed makes more cyber attacks possible. As a member of a global hacking community, Chad gets to see a world map of where cyber-attacks are spiking. In South Africa, when Covid hit, these attacks spiked by a whopping 74%!

Chad is concerned about the increasingly vulnerable users of these new Internet applications. A lot of crypto projects are jumping in to make money fast without really thinking about the potential threats to their users.

Everybody is getting hyped about crypto. It’s the new hot trend, but no one is taking much time to educate themselves on how this new internet really works. Be careful or you’re going to bump your head at some point and it might be a bump that you can’t get up from!

Stay safe and remember: Not your Keys, Not your Crypto!

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