Convicted hackers need not apply

Powered by SC Magazine
 

Opinion: Jail is a great deterrent for employers.

There are better ways of getting into the security industry than to don a black hat.

If convicted, the 25-year-old alleged DistributeIT hacker probably won’t be getting a start in the security industry, or perhaps anywhere in tech for that matter.

He allegedly told police that he couldn’t get a start in the tech sector and was said to spend up to 20 hours some days in front of his machine, from where he allegedly hacked DistributeIT and Platform Networks.

Yet practical infosec skills are -- in some circles -- held above degrees and certifications. In fact, hacking and sniffing out vulnerable systems is encouraged as part of good security training.

But consent and disclosure here are what sets the black hats from the whites. You can’t just hack a business because you want to and you can’t dump a bunch of accounts on pastebin because you think the owner's security sucks.

The decision one makes here can be the catalyst that rules out a career in the infosec industry.

This is because many of the major security vendors are united in their stance to never hire known black hat hackers. Vendors say they can’t be trusted, or simply lack the skills needed to help build or test defensive security systems.

Penetration tester for Pure Hacking, Ty Miller, considered hiring a skilled hacker who applied for a job.

“He was very good, but we did research into his background and found out he was a black hat," he said.

The candidate was also into the kind of invidious research that few would complain to see banished by the government's internet filter.

He didn't get the job.

But other hackers who have seen the inside of prison walls have become successful icons of the infosec industry.

One notable example Kevin Poulsen pled guilty for mail, wired and computer fraud and was sentenced to 51 months in prison. He is now senior editor of Wired.

Kevin Mitnick was charged with a string of computer crimes, including evading the FBI, and is now a respected security consultant.

Then there’s John Draper, better known as Captain Crunch, legendary phone phreaker turned serviceman for the US Air Force and developer of a battery of software systems.

The NSW State Police had last year hired a hacker to assist with a fraud case, and New Zealand telco TelstraClear in 2009 employed then 19-year-old botnet mastermind Owen Thor Walker as a customer security consultant.

Walker no longer works for TelstraClear.

Yet these talented hackers are the exceptions, not the rule. “Knowing right from wrong and how to conduct ethical research is fundamental," Drazen Drazic, head of security firm Securus Global says. "Jail is a great deterrent for employers.”

The biggest surprise for Miller was that the alleged hacker was even caught. Few black hat hackers are arrested, in part because there is almost no appetite for business to pursue legal action against those who breach them.

The first question Miller asks breached businesses – and there are troves of them – is whether they wish to get the police involved. “Every single one," he says, does not.

That's a sentiment reflected by many of this collegues, and police in Australia's computer crime squads.

It’s enormously expensive to chase down hackers and convictions are far from guaranteed, so it’s likely there are some undiscovered black hats among the whites.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia


Convicted hackers need not apply
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  20%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1440

Vote