There are three types of hackers. Black hat hackers perform unauthorized remote computer break-ins through communication networks to wreak havoc on a target. The white hat hackers help debug and solve security problems and the grey hat hackers are morally ambiguous. Sometimes white hat hackers are paid for their work and business is booming for them. White hat hackers have been essential at finding flaws in governments’ computer codes and are now selling them to the countries’ adversaries for a price.
The New York Times specifically profiles Luigi Auriemma (32) and Donato Ferrante (28) in the European island of Malta. The two run a hacker company called ReVuln. They did not reveal specifically who some of the clients of their companies are, except for the U.S. National Security Agency.
The two of them focused on selling security flaws to large tech companies like Microsoft and Apple years ago. Now that companies and government agencies are offering a higher amount for hacker help, more geeks are able to earn a living using their hacker skills. Tech companies have had to increase their offerings for hacker help, but they are being outbid by countries that need help. For example, Microsoft went as high as $150,000 as the top offer recently. The middle men that connect hackers to government agencies generally receive a 15% cut.
“Governments are starting to say, ‘In order to best protect my country, I need to find vulnerabilities in other countries,'” stated former White House cybersecurity coordinator in an interview with The New York Times. “The problem is that we all fundamentally become less secure.”
[Image Credit: security concept with a lock via BigStockPhoto]