Some parts of the Internet are a lot like dark alleys where shady characters hang out. There are hackers for hire who can do everything from exposing cheating spouses to breaking into websites and draining money from bank accounts. Some wear white hats and help companies find security flaws; others use black hat tactics for financial gain or other nefarious reasons. And, as the New York Times reports, it’s a lucrative business.
What are the risks of hiring hackers?
For example, an underground forum for hackers posted a post offering to teach basic hacking skills for $20. In the same thread, a hacker for hire also offered to perform Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), which send huge amounts of traffic to servers and can slow or cripple sites.
Other specialized services match hackers with clients looking to hire them for small jobs. Clients typically submit job requirements over an encrypted email or secure chat app, and a hacker or team will respond with their prices and availability. They usually require payment upfront and may not guarantee results, which can be risky.
Some of the hacker-for-hire businesses have even moved beyond cyberattacks and into physical threats to people or their property. While such retaliation is still rare, it shows that the black-hat hackers for hire can have real-world consequences outside of the digital realm. And, although the damage may only last for a short period, it can ruin reputations and take years to rebuild. In extreme cases, it could lead to a cycle of escalating attacks that could threaten a person’s or company’s safety.