Kristoffer von Hassel

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Kristoffer von Hassel
Born2009 (age 10–11)
Known forBeing the world's youngest hacker
Parent(s)Robert Davies and Jill Nyahay

Kristoffer von Hassel (born 2009) is the world's youngest known hacker[1] and notable for being the youngest "security researcher" listed on Microsoft's Security Techcenter as having exposed a security vulnerability.[2] At the age of five, Hassel exposed security lapses in the Microsoft Live Xbox system, prompting wide media coverage, with some journalists highlighting the dropping age of hackers and their technology mastery.

Personal life[edit]

Hassel is the son of Robert Davies, who works in computer security, and Jill Nyahay. They live in Ocean Beach, California.[3] When the media started covering Hassel in early April 2014, he was enrolled in Kindergarten.[4]

Hacking initiative[edit]

After wanting to play his father's video games but having parental blocks preventing it, five-year-old Hassel tried hacking into the Xbox Live system by trying different combinations of passwords. Eventually, he found a back door security glitch that allowed him first to enter the wrong password, then in the following screen to enter a series of spaces to unlock the system.[2] After he had "exploited the security hole", Hassel's parents found him playing the restricted video games and sternly asked him how he gained access. After he showed them, Davies contacted Microsoft to let them know about the security problem.[5] Microsoft responded “We’re always listening to our customers and thank them for bringing issues to our attention. We take security seriously at Xbox and fixed the issue as soon as we learned about it.” They also provided Hassel with a free year-long subscription to Microsoft Live Gold, four video games and $50USD.[6]

On its website, Microsoft has listed Hassel as one of its Security Researchers, of whom he is the youngest.[2] Of the people listed on the page as security researchers, he has been called "the most unusual but perhaps the most significant".[7][8]

Davies has stated that Hassel had also learned "three or four other hacks" by the age of five, including how to bypass smartphone screen locks.[9]


Hassel has been identified as the world's youngest hacker, beating out others who have also been quite young. The Huffington Post has reported on "teenage tech geniuses"[10] and The New York Times has stated "in some hacking circles, 15 would be considered middle aged." They continue to say that the age for hacking, coding, and tech adaptability continues to drop.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Karl (11 August 2015). "5 child geniuses destined for a career in cybersecurity". WeLiveSecurity. ESET. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Castillo, Michel del (4 April 2014). "5-year-old hacker lends Microsoft a hand". Upstart Biz Journals. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  3. ^ Molina, Brett (5 April 2014). "5-year-old discovers Xbox security flaw, Microsoft rewards him". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  4. ^ Callaham, John (4 April 2014). "5-year-old boy finds Xbox One security flaw, Microsoft rewards him with free games". Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  5. ^ Ecarma, Jordan (4 April 2014). "5-YEAR-OLD HACKS XBOX LIVE TO ACCESS LOCKED GAME". Auto World News. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  6. ^ Mosely, Jared (4 April 2014). "Kindergarten hacker: 5 year old breaks into dad's Xbox Live account". Venture Beat. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  7. ^ Syeda, S (7 April 2014). "Microsoft Xbox Security Flaw Exposed by Five Year Old". The News Reports. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  8. ^ Merva, Nick (7 April 2014). "5-year-old Ocean boy exposes Microsoft Xbox Vulnerability". Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  9. ^ Gross, Doug (4 April 2014). "5-year-old boy hacks dad's Xbox account". CNN. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Teen Hackers: 10 Stories of Young Code-Crackers". Huffington Post. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  11. ^ Glenny, Misha (8 March 2012). "Tap Into the Gifted Young Hackers". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2014.