White Hat Hacker and Stealing Personal Information

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Hackers did not originally intend to infiltrate others' privacy, they were creative individuals who saw the world differently and wished to take it apart to work it differently. The first hacks were before computers were even popular so the creators had to think outside of the box even harder. They pulled stunts at sporting events using gas balloons and using the paper bus ticket system. Once people started to get easier access to computers did the hacking game change. When the 1980s came and it became common for people to own laptops in their homes did hacking develop into what we know it is today.

Computer hackers used the fact that people were now storing important documents online to their advantage. The possibilities that hackers could create became endless with the use of modern technology. Once the media got hold of the hacker’s plans they released the news to their audience and created fear. Hacking now became what we know it is today, criminals who trespass onto private computers and steal personal information. Hackers like these who only use their talent for wrongdoings and criminal activity are considered “Black Hat Hackers”. Individuals like these scare even large companies today and it is extremely worrisome for them to have to take care of their client’s information. 

If they cannot then they could lose business. “It is estimated that more than 30,000 websites are hacked every single day, which goes to show the scale of modern hacking and how it can affect businesses of all sizes. Hackers range from inexperienced “script kiddies” making use of hacking tools written by others to sophisticated modern cybercriminals who will stop at nothing to get what they want.” (James) Hacking is something that no matter the size or relevance, could become infiltrated. Just recently in July 2019, Capital One Bank was hacked and the information from over 100 million people was compromised. 

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Through the hack, Paige Thompson was able to achieve 140,000 social security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers. Situations like these scare people all around the world about trusting banks and keeping personal information online. She was able to commit these crimes because she had previously worked in an Amazon web service. Capital One’s data services were built on top of Amazon’s cloud for easier access. Because of that, it was easy for Thompson to know how to infiltrate the information and easy for other geniuses to commit the same crime. This was not the first hacking that companies needed to start worrying about. Hacking is something that large companies take very seriously and need to be on very high alert. The JPMorgan chief said that they spend $600 million on security alone.

Another type of computer hacking is called a white hat hacker. This type is the exact opposite of a black hat hacker. They use their talent for protection and security purposes and were hired to report bugs or find a weakness in the system. “White hat hacking is not only about problem solving or strong technical grip. It also involves powerful communication skills, intelligence, ability to adapt, envisioning, decision making, and a lot of patience, even under pressure.” (EC-Council)White hat hackers are becoming a necessity for companies large and small. 

Cyber threats are growing larger by the hour and the only way to stop them is to think like them. These hackers even go as far as to be hired to hack into a company’s security and see how far they would get into it until they are stopped. This process is the only way a company can tell how good their internet security really is. The largest of companies like Google and Facebook even give out rewards for catching vulnerabilities in their systems. This type of hacking has become so popular that people are making a living out of it, the demand for them is getting larger and larger each day.

The last type of hackers is called grey hat hackers. This type is similar to the black hat in the sense that they do it without malicious intent but they are also not legally permitted to do it. For example, they might hack into a bank account but instead of stealing the money, they post it online so others can see the amount that was in it. The biggest website contributor to this is ‘Wikileaks’. Wikileaks is most notable for it’s their information on Hilary Clinton’s email archive and Russian spy document files. Although showing these leaks off to the world gives the hacker no real gain, it still brings political talk into the media and can be considered very impactful.

One of the biggest circumstances of using white hat hackers was when Washington DC launched its ‘Hack the Pentagram’ security project in 2016. It was created to strengthen security and to search for bugs in the DOD . Those who are skilled enough to identify security threats will be rewarded with cash. For the launch over thousands of talented individuals participated in the event and over 8,000 valid bugs and vulnerabilities were found. Within thirteen minutes of the program’s launch, there was already a submission and after only six hours there were over 200 submissions. The reason the DOD created the ‘Hack the Pentagram’ was that they knew that the more hackers mean finding more problems. No matter the size or power a company has, no one is safe from hackers and people will always be moving forward with new technology and ideas. 

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