For Marc Maiffret, the turning point in his life came when—at the age of 17—he woke up to an FBI agent pointing a gun at his head. A runaway and high school dropout, he had landed his first professional job but his past was still catching up to his present.
As chief hacking officer at eEye, the street-savvy, brash teen became a thorn in the side of software giant Microsoft, finding vulnerabilities in its products, including the hole that the Code Red worm used to wriggle its way onto thousands of servers in 2001.
Today, at 29, the boyish-looking Maiffret is still causing trouble—the good kind. He joined anti-malware firm FireEye in mid-December. In a recent interview, Maiffret talked about growing up fast and how he stays ahead of the threat.
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