Crilley’s desire to beat a computer game led to an interest in hacking at age 12 years old. “There was a game called Neopets and I’m the type of person who wants to be the best at everything; so I’d figured out the way to win at Neopets, optimally, would be to create programs that play the game for me,” he explained.
“I started going on forums and talking to people who had no idea I was 12, learning the tricks of the trade,” he continued. “Eventually I was making money in my sleep on Neopets writing these programs. From there some of these same people I met online were hackers. So I started learning more and more about that.”
He joked that he uses his powers for good. At 14 years old, he helped small businesses protect themselves from hackers. Now he designs secure business websites.
“The assumption that you’re going to be safe is the biggest security hole in any network or any institution,” Crilley said.