Hackers for Hire both Good and Bad

Ever see those public bulletin boards with all the business cards on them? Don’t be surprised if you spot one that says “Hacker•for•Hire.” These are hackers who will, for a nice juicy fee, hack into your wife’s Facebook account to see if she’s cheating on you.

However, there’s at least one hackmaking site that matches hackers to clients who want to infiltrate a network for personal gain or even revenge. The site, Hacker’s List, is a good idea, certainly not the first of its kind; the site’s founders (who wish to remain anonymous) get a piece of the pie for each completed job. Kind of sounds like one of those freelance job sites where someone bids on a posted job. The client must put the payment in escrow prior to the job being carried out. This pretty much guarantees payment to the hacker.

The site began operation in November. Imagine the possibilities, like business people getting a complete list of their competitors’ clients, customers, prices and trade secrets. And yes, a college student could hire a hacker for changing a grade. Makes you kind of wish you were skilled at hacking; what a freaking easy way to make a lot of money.

Is a site like this legal? After all, cracking into someone’s personal or business account is illegal. The site has a lengthy terms of service that requires agreement from users, including agreeing not to use the service for illegal activity. The verdict isn’t out if Hacker’s List is an illegal enterprise, and further complicating this is that many of the job posters are probably outside the U.S.

Hacker’s List was carefully developed, and that includes the founders having sought legal counsel to make sure they don’t get in trouble.

Hiring hackers can easily occur beyond an organized website where jobs are posted and bid on. And there’s no sign of this industry slowing down. The line of demarcation between good hackers and bad is broad and blurry, beginning with legitimate businesses hiring hackers to analyze the companies’ networks for any vulnerabilities.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention. Disclosures.

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