Danor Cohen: From Hacked to Hero

danor cohen

Meet Danor Cohen, a 15+ year veteran white hat hacker who has dedicated his career to helping people stay safe online. Cohen, a highly decorated name in the world of critical bug reporting, is a co-founder of MintDefense, a Web3 protection software that has saved countless users from financial hardship via scams and hacks.

How It All Began

His fascinating journey to becoming a Guardian of Web3 began maybe not as you would expect. When Cohen was 15, his PC was hacked. Incensed and seeking retribution against the perpetrator, he turned to a hacking forum for advice on how to get back at them.

“I asked them “How do I hack another person’s PC?” The reaction from everyone on the forum was very disappointing; they laughed at me!” Cohen told Influencive. “They went on to tell me that in order to become a hacker, one should dedicate years of learning. I felt stupid and ashamed for even asking. The interesting thing though was how I chose to mitigate the situation.”

Hacker Symbol Photo - Hacking - IT - Security - magenta | Flickr

Undeterred from the knock-back, he stayed on the forum and took the brutally honest feedback on board. He went all the way back to the beginning of the forum archives and analyzed every question and answer, took courses and bought books, studying them diligently until he gained the knowledge and skills required.

Cohen was now a very different person to the boy who had his PC hacked all that time ago. “I spent years managing this forum and directing the new, younger hackers coming through to become legitimate white hat hackers too. The idea was to ensure they were not using their skills to harm, but only to learn and grow – and to make the internet safer for the greater good.”

Recognized for Excellence

Cohen utilized his self-taught skills and effectively applied them in various professional roles, particularly as a penetration tester. In this line of work, he conducted assessments for banks, companies, government institutions, and military targets with the purpose of identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses within their systems.

“Also, in my spare time I reported bugs to well-known companies such as Google, Facebook, Paypal, DropBox, and more. At one point, I had reported so many critical bugs to Paypal they put me on a list of the world’s top 10 hackers for their platform.”

He eventually became Head of Offensive Security at Salesforce, leading a team of more than 20 who were dedicated to hacking Salesforce with the aim of making it more secure. Quite a meteoric rise from such humble beginnings!

Journey Into Web3

NEO Tokyo. 2023. Let's Talk. – Neo Tokyo Official Blog

However, it was his contributions to the Neo Tokyo community that ultimately paved the way for his creation of MintDefense; the only browser extension that in real-time detects and blocks malicious Web3 sites.

“I joined the NeoTokyo community and wanted to contribute. So I created a hacking thread in the NT server to explain and teach people the cool stuff they can do in Web3 to get ahead of other minters. Skills such as how to hunt for hidden contracts, how to win gas wars, and how to investigate smart contracts.”

In no time at all, Cohen has created a dedicated development department in Neo Tokyo with 200+ developers and other tech experts, all working together to develop technologies that would serve the community.

Savior of the scammed

But, as Neo Tokyo citizens increasingly identified Cohen as “the cyber security guy” to talk to, he soon found himself inundated with DMs from people who had been scammed. Some were saying they had lost their life savings to Web3 scammers. These people were reaching out to Cohen for advice, or even hoping he could help with retrieving what had been stolen from them.


“I ran investigations and even hacked some scammers to try and recover funds for people. Soon enough, people started to reach out to me en masse. My inbox was filled with messages from people who were telling me they wanted to die as they had just lost their life savings to a scam, and that I am their last hope.” Cohen somberly recounted to us.

“It was devastating. There were times where I couldn’t sleep at night; all my thoughts were for those poor, poor people and their lives that had been destroyed.”

Cohen soon realized that the problem was bigger than he could handle alone. He conducted a poll within Neo Tokyo and found that over 75% of people had been scammed at least once, with an average loss of around 10k. He knew he had to act, and became obsessed with finding a solution.

Leaving his comfortable job at Salesforce, Cohen turned his attention to this mission, founding MintDefense with fellow Neo Tokyian, Alex Katz. With a 99.9% success rate of detection, MintDefense has saved countless Web3 users from falling foul to the numerous dangers posed by the bad actors in Web3.

Final Thoughts

As the crypto market begins to emerge from the freezing winter it’s endured, this will undoubtedly bring fresh – but naïve – blood into the space. Investors won’t be the only ones in a state of euphoria, as scammers will be working hard to take as much as they can from the inexperienced, with plenty of easy targets to choose from. Thankfully, MintDefense will be on offer and will no doubt be well established by that time.

Danor Cohen’s journey from a frustrated, vengeful victim to a protector of others is a story of turning adversity into opportunity. His is a story which we have all encountered at some point in our lives; where we come to a metaphorical fork in the road and our choice of which path to take will have lasting reverberations for our future; more so than we realize at that time.

Cohen’s decision to fight the people who he once sought to become, and his dedication to use his expertise for the greater good, is truly inspiring and a testament to the power of harnessing one’s skills to create positive change.


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