Researcher's First Hack Was to Make Minesweeper Incredibly Easy to Beat

In the latest episode of the My First Hack series, Ophir Harpaz tells us about the time she hacked Minesweeper.
August 23, 2021, 1:00pm
minesweeper
Image: yum9me/Flickr

Unlike some other hackers and security researchers, Ophir Harpaz did not get into hacking by breaking into her school's network when she was a teenager. 

Harpaz, who is now a security researcher at cybersecurity firm Guardicore, was already working in tech and had a degree in computer science when she got curious about hacking. A colleague suggested she try reverse engineering, the art of analyzing and deconstructing software. 

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Her first target was the classic Windows game Minesweeper. Her goal was to hack the game and, as soon as it boots up, force it to display flags on all the squares that were hiding mines. This would obviously make it trivial to beat it. 

It took her a few tries and hours of work, but when she finally did it, she was elated and knew that this hack had changed her life forever. 

On this new episode of our podcast series My First Hack, Harpaz tells us how she hacked Minesweeper and what she learned from that experience.