How to Retrieve/Recover a Hacked Account
How to recover an account In this digital era, our lives are intricately intertwined with diverse online platforms, ranging from social media networks to financial accounts. However, the convenience of an online presence also entails the risk of encountering security issues and potential account compromises. The frustration and concern of losing access to an account can be overwhelming, but fear not. This comprehensive handbook will guide you through the intricate process of account recovery, ensuring that you regain full control. Remember, armed with the right knowledge and patience, you can triumph over this obstacle and reclaim access to your valuable accounts.
The Initial Jolt: How To Find Out If Your Account is Compromised
Discovering a compromised account can be disconcerting. Whether it’s your email, social media, or a critical financial account, the first step is to remain composed and take swift action to safeguard your account from further harm.
- Identify the Indicators of Account Compromise
Unusual Activity: Scrutinize your account history for unfamiliar logins, messages, or transactions. Password Alterations: Red flags are raised when you receive notifications of password changes that you didn’t initiate. Suspicious Emails: Be on guard against phishing attempts or suspicious emails requesting personal information.
- Act Promptly
The moment you suspect an account breach, swift action is imperative to minimize potential damage. Time is of the essence.
- Report the Incident
Immediately notify the platform’s support team or customer service. They will expertly guide you through the recovery process and fortify your account.
Account Recovery: A Step-by-Step Manual
Each platform has its distinct account recovery process. Below are the general steps applicable to most platforms. Keep in mind that specifics may vary; hence, refer to the platform’s official support documentation for precise instructions.
- Access the Account Recovery Page
Visit the official website of the platform or service where your account was compromised. Locate the “Forgot Password” or “Account Recovery” option.
- Provide Account Details
Enter the registered email address or username associated with the compromised account. Complete any additional security measures, such as CAPTCHA or two-factor authentication.
- Reset Your Password
Once your identity is verified, the platform will prompt you to reset your password. Opt for a robust, distinctive password, eschewing easily guessable information.
- Review Account Settings
After regaining access, meticulously review your account settings. Update security measures, including password, recovery email, and phone number.
Preventative Measures: Safeguarding Your Accounts
While knowing how to recover an account is pivotal, adopting preventive measures is equally crucial to shield your accounts from potential breaches.
- Robust Passwords
Employ a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid employing easily guessable information, such as birthdates or common phrases. Regularly update passwords for all your accounts.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Enable 2FA whenever feasible, as it adds an extra layer of security. Common 2FA methods involve receiving a code via text message or authentication app.
- Beware of Phishing Attempts
Exercise caution when confronted with suspicious emails, links, or messages soliciting personal information. Verify the sender’s email address and double-check URLs before clicking.
- Keep Software Updated
Regularly update your device’s operating system and applications. Updates often include security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities.
Recovering Social Media Accounts: Recover an account process
Social media accounts are frequently targeted by hackers. Here’s the recovery process for different platforms:
Access the “Forgot Password” option. Enter the email or phone number associated with your account. Follow the instructions to reset your password.
Click “Forgot password?” on the login page. Provide your email or phone number to receive a reset link. Create a new password to regain access.
Tap “Forgot Password?” on the login screen. Enter your username or email to receive a reset link. Set a new password and secure your account.
Recovering Email Accounts
Losing access to your email can be particularly distressing, as it may contain sensitive information. Here’s how to recover common email accounts:
Go to the Gmail login page and click “Forgot Password.” Enter your email address and proceed to account verification. Choose a new password to recover your Gmail account.
Click “Sign-in” on the Outlook login page. Select “Forgot my password” and provide your email address. Verify your identity and create a new password.
Recovering Financial Accounts
Financial accounts hold valuable assets and information. If compromised, act immediately:
Contact your bank’s customer service or visit a local branch. Report the unauthorized access and request a password reset. Follow their guidance to secure your account.
Credit Card Accounts
Call the credit card company’s customer service immediately. Report the unauthorized transactions and request a card replacement. Review recent transactions for any other unauthorized charges.
Account recovery is a process that demands prompt action, patience, and preventive measures. By swiftly identifying account compromises and adhering to the platform’s recovery procedures, you can regain full control of your accounts. Additionally, adopting security best practices, such as employing strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication, will significantly diminish the risk of future breaches.
Remember, you are the gatekeeper of your digital life. With vigilance and knowledge, you can leave hackers and unauthorized users behind, ensuring the safety and security of your online presence.
Embrace the power of knowledge, take action, and safeguard your accounts from any potential harm. Armed with the steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently recover your accounts and remain ahead in the digital landscape.
EMAIL HACKING SERVICES FOR HIRE
Communicating vis email has become one of the primary communication channels for businesses and individuals. However, with the increasing amount of sensitive information being shared through email, there is a risk of email hacking. Hiring an email hacker can help you protect your personal or business information and prevent cyber attacks. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to hire an email hacker.
Table of Contents
- Reasons to Hire an Email Hacker
- Types of Email Hacks
- Qualities of a Good Email Hacker
- Finding an Email Hacker
- Tips for Hiring an Email Hacker
Email hacking is the act of gaining unauthorized access to someone’s email account or system. The consequences of email hacking can be severe, ranging from identity theft to financial loss. Hiring an email hacker can help you identify vulnerabilities in your email system and prevent such attacks.
2. Reasons to Hire an Email Hacker
There are several reasons why you may need to hire an email hacker. Some of the most common reasons include:
- To recover lost or forgotten email passwords
- To investigate a suspected email hack or breach
- To protect your email from future attacks
- To gain access to an email account with permission (e.g., for a legal case or investigation)
3. Types of Email Hacks
Before hiring an email hacker, it is important to understand the different types of email hacks. Some of the most common email hacks include:
- Password attacks: These attacks involve guessing or cracking the password of an email account to gain access.
- Phishing: This involves tricking the email user into revealing their login credentials or other sensitive information through fake emails or websites.
- Malware: Malware can infect an email account or system, allowing the hacker to gain access or steal information.
- Social engineering: This involves manipulating or deceiving the email user into revealing their login credentials or sensitive information.
4. Qualities of a Good Email Hacker
When looking for an email hacker, it is important to find someone with the right qualifications and experience. Some qualities to look for in a good email hacker include:
- Technical expertise in email security and hacking
- Experience in identifying and resolving email hacks
- Good communication skills to explain the process and results to the client
- Trustworthiness and confidentiality
5. Finding an Email Hacker
Finding an email hacker can be a daunting task, as it is not a legal or widely accepted service. However, there are some ways to find an email hacker, including:
- Referrals from trusted sources
- Online forums or marketplaces
- Private investigators or cybersecurity firms
It is important to thoroughly research and vet any email hacker you are considering hiring to ensure they are legitimate and trustworthy.
6. Tips for Hiring an Email Hacker
When hiring an email hacker, there are some tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful and safe process:
- Clearly define the scope and goals of the project
- Get a written agreement with the hacker outlining the terms and expectations
- Only hire a hacker with a good reputation and proven track record
- Ask for references or testimonials from previous clients
- Verify the hacker’s credentials and experience
- Agree on a payment structure and timeline
Hiring an email hacker may seem like an easy way to access someone’s email account, but it is important to consider the legal and ethical implications of doing so. Cybersecurity laws, privacy, cyber insurance, and professional conduct are some of the legal and ethical considerations you should keep in mind when hiring an email hacker. It is important to ensure that you are not breaking any laws and that your actions are ethical before hiring an email hacker.
- Can I hire an email hacker to test my business’s security? Yes, you can hire an email hacker to test your business’s security, but it is important to ensure that your cyber insurance covers such activities.
I Need a Hacker for Hire
Worldwide, a lot of people are looking for ways to successfully hire a hacker online. The hacker community has really grown to be important service providers over the past few years. You can now hire ethical hackers to sell their hacking skills for solving a problem.I need a hacker urgently Quite a number of people are in urgent need of hacking service but don t know how to go about it, so they turn to search engines trying to find answers to the question they need. When it comes to hiring a hacker, you can find all the right information you need I need a hacker for hireVerified-Hackers connects you with the best hackers for hire. When you hire a verified-hacker, you can be sure the service you are requesting is definitely going to be delivered to your satisfaction. Every verified hacker is professional and can be fully trusted.Is it safe to hire a hacker online? Hacker-for-hire sites may or may not be breaking the law no one has tested those limits yet. Hacking into someone s account can be considered a violation of the person s privacy, so you need to have good reasons and also work with a trusted hacker.Where can I hire a hacker for cell phone? Hire a trusted hacker for hire service to spy on any cell phone. You can get genuine cell phone hackers for hire on Verified-Hackers. So if you are in need of a hacker urgently, head to Verified-Hackers to get the best legit hackers for hire.
Contact us on https://abstracthackers.com
EMAIL: [email protected]
Many people are interested in hiring a hacker but don’t know how to go about it the right way. The following 4 steps will help you get the best hacker for hire service.
Verified-Hackers for Hire: This is definitely the best, easiest, fastest and most reliable way to hire a hacker for cell phone; including android and iphone. Apart from hacking a mobile phone remotely, you can also hire one of the Verified-Hackers for other hack services. Some other services you can hire a verified professional hacker for include; hacking email and social media accounts amongst other services.
The Hack Network: You can also follow www.instabitnetwork.com for all the necessary information you need to confidently and easily hire an ethical hacker, that is guaranteed to deliver the service you need to your satisfaction. The Hack Network also provides all you the other educative information you need to know about hacking and how to avoid malicious attacks.
Hire a Hacker on the Dark Web: The darkweb is a deep part of the internet that offers absolute anonymity. It requires using a TOR browser in order to gain access into it. As a matter of fact, the dark web is most popular for offering the best legit hacker for hire service.
Microsoft Patched Exploits Leaked By Shadow Brokers
The latest dump of hacking tools allegedly belonged to the NSA is believed to be the most damaging release by the Shadow Brokers till the date.
But after analyzing the disclosed exploits, Microsoft security team says most of the windows vulnerabilities exploited by these hacking tools, including EternalBlue, EternalChampion, EternalSynergy, EternalRomance and others, are already patched in the last month’s Patch Tuesday update.
“Most of the exploits that were disclosed fall into vulnerabilities that are already patched in our supported products. Customers still running prior versions of these products are encouraged to upgrade to a supported offering,” Microsoft Security Team said in a blog post published today.
On Good Friday, the Shadow Brokers released a massive trove of Windows hacking tools allegedly stolen from NSA that works against almost all versions of Windows, from Windows 2000 and XP to Windows 7 and 8, and their server-side variants such as Server 2000, 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012, except Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.
The hacking exploits could give nearly anyone with technical knowledge the ability to break into millions of Windows computers and servers all over the Internet, but those which are not up-to-date.
“Of the three remaining exploits, “EnglishmanDentist”, “EsteemAudit”, and “ExplodingCan”, none reproduces on supported platforms, which means that customers running Windows 7 and more recent versions of Windows or Exchange 2010 and newer versions of Exchange are not at risk.” Microsoft says.
The data dump also includes some top-secret presentations and excel sheets, indicating that the leaked exploits may have been used to hack the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world.
Even though NSA exploits are patched, the Shadow Brokers leak is still big, which provides info on NSA targeting SWIFT Networks
Hacking tool, called Eternalromance, contains an easy-to-use interface and exploits Windows systems over TCP ports 445 and 139.
The most noteworthy exploit in the Friday’s dump is Eternalblue — an SMBv1 (Server Message Block 1.0) exploit that could cause older versions of Windows to execute code remotely.
Matthew Hickey, a security expert and co-founder of Hacker House, also published a video demonstration, using this exploit against a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and pulling off the hack in less than 2 minutes with another alleged zero-day FuzzBunch, which is being used to compromise a virtual machine running Windows Server 2008.
But if the company already patched this flaw last month, then how could this exploit works against an updated machine? It seems like the researcher tried this exploit against a Windows PC without installing the latest updates.
“The patches were released in last month’s update, I tested on a fully patched Windows 2008 R2 SP1 (x64), so many hosts will be vulnerable – if you apply MS17-010 it should protect hosts against the attacks,” Matthew clarifies during a conversation with The Hacker News.
No Acknowledgement for SMB RCE Issue by Microsoft
There’s also news floating around the Internet that the “NSA has had, at a minimum, 96 days of warning,” knowing that the Shadow Brokers could drop the files at any time, but the agency did not report the flaws to Microsoft.
The Intercept also reported that Microsoft told it that the company had not been contacted by any “individual or organization,” in relation to the hacking tools and exploits released by the Shadow Brokers.
The vulnerabilities have already been patched by Microsoft, which acknowledges all security researchers for reporting the issues in its products, but, interesting, there are no acknowledgments for MS17-010 which patched most of the critical flaws from the Shadow Brokers dump.
It’s noteworthy, there’s no acknowledgement for recently patched MS17-10 SMB flaw on Microsoft (used in Eternalblue)
This indicates that someone from the agency or linked with defense contractor might have warned the company of the SMB RCE issue.
So, only those who are still using Windows XP, which Microsoft doesn’t support for very long, are at risk of getting their machines hacked.
And there is no need to panic if you use updated Windows 7, 8 or 10 (or even Windows Vista, whose support ended just last week and the issue was patched last month).
The simple advice for you is to always keep your Windows machines and servers up-to-date in order to prevent yourself from being hacked.
Sergey Pavlovich was just 14 when he discovered how to get rich in his poor ex-Soviet state of Belarus. He and others became hackers, tapping into Americans’ credit card data at companies like T.J. Maxx and thousands of miles away, then selling the info to big-time crooks. By the time he was jailed, at 21, he was a millionaire. “We numbed our feeling of guilt with the idea we were targeting only large companies,” he tells Fortune. “We were almost Robin Hoods.” Besides, job prospects were bleak. “No one wanted to work at a factory and make $200 a month,” says Pavlovich, whose hacking memoir is titled How to Steal a Million.
But Pavlovich has a new line of work. Now out of prison, he consults for U.S. businesses, helping them secure data from hackers like him. He is one of several cybercrime experts from the former Soviet world in increasingly high demand, despite–or perhaps because of–the escapades of Russian hackers dominating the news cycle.
“Russian software engineers are among the best in the world,” says Costin Raiu, director of global research and analysis at the Moscow cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. “Russian cybercriminals tend to be very good in what they are doing.”
In New York City, criminal lawyer Arkady Bukh has hired Pavlovich and other hackers to stress-test data for clients. Bukh says the Ukrainian-born credit card hacker Vladislav Horohorin has worked for him from his jail cell in Massachusetts. The Russians’ work, Bukh says, is unassailable. “They have spent thousands and thousands of hours doing attacks,” says Bukh. “These are workaholics.”
Mikhail Rytikov, a Ukrainian named in a U.S. hacking indictment (he maintains his innocence), runs an Internet hosting business and applauds the hackers’ cybersecurity efforts. He says his motto is, “Better to make [money] legally than to steal from someone.”Hard to argue with that.
A version of this article appears in the February 1, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline “Not All Russian Hackers Are Bad.”
What can go wrong when hiring a Hacker? Before delving into all the things that could go wrong with hiring a Hacker, it is only rational to look at all the good reasons why you would want to hire a Hacker in the first place?
What is Hacking? Hacking is the act of systematically penetrating a computer systems with or without the owners permission. This type of hacking helps find weaknesses and security vulnerabilities that an unauthorized hacker like us could exploit. 🙂
Why should you consider hiring a Hacker?
There are obviously strong reasons as to why you should consider hiring an Hacker in the first place. Hackers can perform a variety of roles based on the kind of business you operate in.
- Well versed with network security vulnerabilities
- We control Trending news and traffic follows
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- Financially future proof your business
We know a lot about network security. This puts us in a unique position to pinpoint any weaknesses that could be exploited .
We have real world experience
As much as you may have IT professionals monitoring your network security, these people are just working from a theoretical point of view. Furthermore, they are only thinking about defence, which means their vantage point is a little limited. Us Hackers we are used to thinking offensively and anticipate. We have real life experience as to what kind of security measures work and which ones can be easily manoeuvred. This kind of insight is invaluable when it comes to finding loopholes.
What could go wrong?
They could be vulnerable to attacks themselves
One thing you need to understand about hacking is that every good hacker has to stay up to date with all the current skills and coding weaknesses out there. What this means is that even if the hacker you hire is a White Hat hacker, they still need to have some kind of association with the Black or Grey Hats. This is the only way they would know what kinds of vulnerabilities exist.
Yes, they obviously invent many different personas to blend into the various chat rooms but who is to say that these vulnerabilities are completely secure? Who is to say that in their quest to completely secure your network by asking questions on hacker forums they wouldn’t be opening doors to Black Hats, albeit unknowingly?
They could leave loopholes for themselves
A hacker knows exactly how to infiltrate a system without being detected. They can do this even when you are on the defensive and looking. Now imagine what they can do when you are not looking? Giving an ethical hacker full access to your network security could potentially open you up to attacks by the very person you hired to help keep other hackers out.
They could prove to be a loose end when it comes to corporate espionage
Hackers are generally very smart people, but they are still human. This means that they are vulnerable to their particular vices just like every other human being. Therefore, should they come under the influence of your corporate espionage for one reason or another, the kind of access they will have handed over to your competitor will be devastating to your business. They could easily access your company’s financial records and data and use any trade secrets to gain an edge in the market. Worse yet, they could be working for your competitors while pretending to beef up your company’s system security. There is a vast range of things that could go wrong should you hire the wrong person.
They could paralyze your system to prove a point
Most hackers have a good reason for doing what they do. In many cases, they go in, get what they are after and get out. Sometimes they leave you a message that shows they were there and sometimes they don’t. The point is, in many cases, your system will still be standing after they have left. In this case, all you have to do is patch up the hole and try to keep future hackers out.
However, should you hire a hacker who has a point to prove, who is to say that they would not use their knowledge of your system to bring it down just to prove a point or show their value? Bear in mind that this knowledge they wouldn’t have had they been hacking from outside.
Hiring a Hacker sounds like an easy and straightforward process, but it masks a lot that requires much thinking. Yes, there are very good reasons why you should hire a Hackers, particularly if you know why you’re hiring an outsider to hack your systems or if you need to beef up your network security. But there are just as many reasons why it might not be a good idea. It is also a good idea to help train your existing employees with IT Security certifications and be on the safe side of things. It all comes down to how much risk you are willing to take.
The U.S. Army ventured into unfamiliar territory last week, the first day of its “Hack the Army” bug bounty program that challenges dozens of invited hackers to infiltrate its computer networks and find vulnerabilities in select, public-facing Army websites.
“We’re not agile enough to keep up with a number of things that are happening in the tech world and in other places outside the Department of Defense,” explained Army Secretary Eric Fanning in announcing the plan in mid-November. “We’re looking for new ways of doing business,” which includes a break from the past when government avoided working with the hacker community.
Like the Army, enterprises are also realizing that the term hacker is not synonymous with criminal, and that hiring hackers may be the only way to keep up with the real bad guys.
Some 59 percent of executives surveyed by Radware and Merrill Research have either hired or would hire an ex-hacker as a way to inject cybersecurity talent into their workforce. More than a quarter of organizations have been using ex-hackers for more than two years, according to the survey, including so-called white hats or ethical hackers, gray hats – those who skirt the law or ethical standards but not for malicious purposes — and black hats who operate with malicious intent.
[ ALSO ON CSO: 7 steps to start a bug bounty program ]
Postings for ethical hacker jobs on the tech career website Dice.com has jumped from 100 jobs in 2013 to over 800 jobs today. “While that’s still a small number considering there are more than 80,000 tech jobs posted on Dice on any given day, it’s clear demand for these professionals is growing rapidly,” says Bob Melk, Dice president.
“Hackers are exceptionally skilled in finding the little tiny things that other people forget – those vulnerabilities you don’t know yet, things you thought you fixed but not entirely properly,” says Alex Rice, CTO and co-founder of HackerOne, a bug bounty platform with 70,000 hackers in its community. “Every organization out there has something they’ve missed.”Organizations are willing to assume the risks in exchange for access to the unique mindset and skillset of a hacker.
“We’ve seen it on the vendor side for years, and now we’re starting to see it on the user side, as well,” says Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst and the founder of cybersecurity service at Enterprise Strategy Group. “Someone who hacks for fun or who hacked as a researcher — those people certainly could be great hires. They make good hunters and forensic investigators. They may not have the certifications, but they have the skills.”
But hiring someone who’s had a run-in with the law for hacking has its risks, and companies must weigh those risks against their objectives. “Should you hire felons or criminals regardless of their background? That depends. In some cases, it might make sense” based on their individual risk assessment, Rice says.
Many famous black hat hackers have gone on to successful, legitimate careers. In 2008, then 18-year-old Owen Walker was charged as a ringleader of an international hacking group that caused more than $20 million in damages. He went on to work in the security division at telecommunications company Telstra. Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat and DEF CON computer hacking conferences, ran an underground network of hackers ranging from the curious to the criminal. In 2009, he joined the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council, and in 2011 was named CSO for ICANN, the agency that oversees domain names. Kevin Mitnick is now Chief Hacking Officer at security awareness training site KnowBe4. He was once on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for hacking into 40 major corporations.
Shades of gray
The vast majority of hackers are not felons or criminals, Rice says. “They fully intend to leverage their skills for good. These people could choose to be criminals if they want to be, but they decided not to — the same goes for any other type of profession.”
But between the white hats and black hats, how can companies vet all the shades of gray hackers in between? “One man’s hacker is another man’s security researcher,” says Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4. “Just as one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.”
Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4
On the vendor side, companies usually hire ethical hackers, Oltsik says. “Maybe they’ve skirted with the law, but usually it’s not someone who’s got a long rap sheet or has been convicted of a crime.”
KnowBe4 employs four white- and gray-hat security researchers. Occasionally, the firm has skirted the law in its efforts to stop attacks – most recently a CEO fraud attack on Sjouwerman himself.
Someone impersonating Sjouwerman sent an email to his comptroller requesting a wire transfer of $40,000. Recognizing the scam immediately, his team went to work to identify the thief and turn the tables in a reverse social engineering scheme.
“We sent him a phishing email to his AOL account that read, ‘there have been too many logins and your AOL is temporarily blocked. Please log in to unblock your account.’ He fell for it in a flash,” Sjouwerman recalls.
Five minutes later, Sjouwerman’s team had the attacker’s user name and password of his AOL account. Once inside, they emptied out his AOL account into their own PSD file and examined his work. The operation was netting the scammer about $250,000 a month.
“We knew that we weren’t allowed to do it, but we did anyway,” Sjouwerman says. When it comes to hiring hackers, “this is the kind of thing that you are easily tempted into if you’re a white hat or gray hat.”
Barriers to hiring hackers
Global CSO Shawn Burke would love to pick the brain of a black hat hacker to find out what his team at Sungard Availability Services isn’t considering when they implement security controls in their solutions. “There is definitely something they could bring to the table,” he says. But that will likely never happen because Sungard provides services to highly regulated financial institutions and government entities with strict requirements on background checks. “Of course, If they haven’t gotten caught, I guess it wouldn’t be on their resume” or background, he adds.
[ RELATED: How (and why) to start a bug bounty program ]
Sungard does employ a handful of white hat hackers who have completed SANS penetration testing and ethical hacking training courses. One employee was involved in “NSA top-secret work” in his former position. “[Former NSA workers] have seen things that nobody on my team has ever seen,” Burke says. “While they can’t talk about it – they certainly know how to say, in their own cryptic way, that we should probably posture our controls in a certain kind of fashion.” When choosing these employees, trust is key, Burke adds. “I have to trust the employees to do their job.”
Proceed with caution
Companies that are considering hiring a hacker should take several precautions, these experts say.
First, perform background checks before hiring new security employees, Oltsik says. “The red flag would be any kind of law enforcement issues or criminal background, a history of malcontentedness or confrontation with other people they work with, HR incidents, multiple jobs – nothing any different from anyone else you would hire.”
If evaluating a gray or black hat who might have a record, “It’s very often referrals and who you know and who they know” that gets them the job, Sjouwerman says. “If you get a verbal [endorsement], that’s the only somewhat-reliable way to get this done.”
Once hired, put the hacker in roles where they can be successful, but make sure you’re managing and monitoring them, Oltsik says. “They do have skill sets that can be damaging. With the right amount of oversite, you could quickly devise whether someone was doing things that are suspicious.”
Companies should also consider whether a hacker is a good fit within the organization. Hackers by nature tend to work independently and aren’t team oriented, Oltsik says. “If you have someone who loves breaking systems, but isn’t the most social, do you have a role that can fit them where it’s beneficial for you and a good fit for them?”
Hackers as consultants
Companies in doubt about their risk tolerance or culture for hackers may want to consider independent consultants on a project basis, Sjouwerman says.
A vulnerability disclosure company, such as HackerOne, connects businesses with security researchers to resolve their security vulnerabilities. HackerOne’s network of 70,000 hackers have earned more than $10 million in bug bounty rewards for solving companies’ problems. The hackers, who range from teens to highly specialized academics to security pentesters with day jobs, are vetted through a reputation system that tracks what the individuals have done when they’ve identified vulnerabilities and reported them, Rice says. The framework lets people practice their hacking skills “in a way that demonstrates their good intent,” Rice says. Proven ethical hackers can then be invited to work on privileged projects, such as the “Hack the Army” event.
“Organizations realize that the only way to get ahead of criminals is to work with those with the skills but none of the [criminal] motivation,” Rice says. “It does take one to know one.”
Why we need hackers?
In the United States, the term “hacker” carries a negative connotation. It conjures an image of a dark room filled with computers and a lone man attempting to break into bank or credit card networks to steal as much personal information as he can.
While there are plenty of “black-hat” hackers engaging in criminal activity for their own gain, the term hacker has an entirely different meaning. A hacker is simply a programmer for whom programming is reward enough. They tend to be curious individuals who test the limits of what is possible in computing. Unfortunately, the term has become synonymous with “cybercriminal” and now that this image is etched into the conscience of American society, there isn’t much this unorganized group of people can do to restore their reputation. Articles like this one also make it difficult for ethical hackers to shed this image.
Strict interpretations of DMCA, EULAs and other laws or regulations have made criminals out of “white-hat” hackers whose only goals are to test the bounds of computing. The truth is we need hackers. Hackers are some of the most computer savvy individuals and their unique knowledge can be helpful in all kinds of scenarios. For example, an organization can hire a hacker to find possible vulnerabilities in their network, or a network security company can hire a hacker to help create a more secure firewall or other security devices.
While hiring true cybercriminals may not be advisable in all cases, to say that someone who was convicted of a cybercrime could never be trusted is laughable. Criminals reform, and these cybercriminals posses knowledge that possibly no one else has. Why not use their expertise to create a safer internet environment?
Other countries understand the distinction between cybercriminals and hackers. Some even create college programs that teach hacking techniques. Why? Because at the very least those who develop our network security solutions should understand how cybercriminals operate on a practical and technical level.
Why are companies are starting to hire many more hackers?
It’s conventional wisdom among cybersecurity experts that both the U.S. government and many industries have underinvested in cybersecurity, even as the number and scale of threats have visibly grown.y
But now that appears to be changing, as many institutions are now ramping up hiring, and the next generation of cybersoldiers is stepping up.
“We have seen interest from students in cybersecurity and cyberpolicy. CS in general is one of the most popular majors on campus, and the most popular among female undergraduates,” said Allison Berke, who is the executive director of the Stanford Cyber Initiative.
“A newly launched student group called Practical Cybersecurity formed this quarter to teach students practical hacking, computer security and cyberpolicy analysis skills,” she said. “We don’t work directly with government agencies for training, but the student group is planning to enter competitions like the Atlantic Council’s cyber 9/12 challenge.”
It’s the same story at Purdue University’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, which has the oldest U.S. degree program in information security and is the largest producer of Ph.D.s in the field.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of students interested in cybersecurity over the last few years,” said Purdue professor Gene Spafford, a veteran of cybersecurity education who has also advised government agencies including the NSA, FBI and Air Force. Spafford noted though that — as with most graduate school programs — most of his students are not U.S. citizens.
“It is difficult to get U.S. citizens to apply for grad school in CS or information security,” he said. “Government wants to hire people but really isn’t into helping support academia in training them, obtaining current equipment, or developing good curricular material.”
Many graduates of the program take jobs with government agencies or work as contractors but Spafford said CERIAS has “effectively zero support from government agencies to expand our program or offer better education.”
And as the field attracts more students, cybersecurity firms are reporting an uptick in interest from prospective employees.
“It is the hottest field to go into and plays to the strengths of the younger generations who have grown up online,” said Ben Johnson, a former NSA employee who is now chief security strategist at Bit9 + Carbon Black, a company that helps government agencies and enterprises secure computer systems and respond to attacks.
“We have seen an increase in qualified individuals and the desire by students to gain the necessary skills to fight terrorists using cyberwarfare,” said Morey Haber, vice president of technology at BeyondTrust, a cybersecurity firm that aims to eliminate data breaches from hack attacks and insider privilege abuse.
Pravin Kothari, founder and CEO of CipherCloud, a Silicon Valley-based cloud security firm concurred. “While there has been a shortage of cybersecurity talent in the past few years, it has also become an attractive career option for students and professionals. We expect to see more interest in STEM careers as well as more students pursuing security coursework out of a sense of patriotism.”
This may be music to the ears of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, as he reaches out to Silicon Valley to mend fences and solicit help fighting an increasingly technologically sophisticated and connected army of hackers and terrorists.
The DOD recently opened its first outpost in the valley, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, to strengthen and build relationships with innovators and scout for breakthrough technologies. Carter is quoted on the DIUX homepage saying, “If we are going to leverage these technologies to defend our country and help make a better world, the DOD cannot do everything in all of these areas alone.”
In doing so, Carter has drawn praise from venture capitalists such as Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.
On March 13 of this year Carter told employees of Cybercom and the NSA at the U.S. Cyber Command Workforce at Forte Meade, Maryland, how much they are valued. (The address was Carter’s first appearance at a troop event)
“The domain that you protect, cyberspace, is presenting us with some of the most profound challenges,” he said. “While you may not be at risk in the way that the forces are — physical risk in the way our — in Afghanistan, we are requiring from you a comparable level of professionalism, excellence, dedication. And I know you show all that, but we count on it, because you really are on the front lines.”
“We understand that this mission area is one we cannot afford not to keep investing in,” said Carter. “A big priority of mine is going to be to make sure that you’re getting the training and the equipment and the resources you need,” he said.
Carter is well-aware of the massive shortfall in much-needed tech talent, and he’s courting the next generation of hackers, vying with the industry to attract and retain top talent.
“I don’t want you being hired away either,” Carter half-joked at the address. “I can’t stop you.”
“By most estimates we have a shortage of over 1 million cybersecurity specialists in the IT workforce,” said Jeff Schilling, chief security officer of Armor, a company that researches, aggregates and analyzes threat data from global sources to identify active adversaries and their ever-changing techniques.
“The government, and most organizations, have an incredible shortage of cyberdefenders, including some companies that have 300 open positions just for security analysts,” said Johnson. “The numbers are staggering. The uptick in applications to be cybersecurity soldiers and defenders is not keeping pace with the need, which means we are falling further and further behind.”
Something both the U.S. government and companies — from small cybersecurity start-ups to security giants like Intel Security — hope they can change.