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all your online accounts secure! There’s a saying that goes, “if you can’t
beat them, join them”, but in the case of today’s show we might change that to “If
they’ve beaten you, hire them.” After all, if you’ve breached a company
or government’s firewalls, you might just be the right person to stop others penetrating
systems where sensitive information is stored. It doesn’t always end with a job and a healthy-looking
salary, though, and the vast majority of hackers who were caught end up with a fine, probation,
some community service or even a prison sentence. For instance, many who have created and distributed
computer viruses have ended-up behind bars. But today we’ll look at the people whose
tinkering landed them a great job, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Hackers
Who Now Work for The Government. Jeff Moss (Dark Tangent)
One of the better known hackers in the world, this man went on to found both the DEF CON
and Black Hat computer security conferences. He’s done many things in his life relating
to security, but started working for the U.S. government during the administration of Barack
Obama. In 2009, he was sworn in to the Homeland Security
Advisory Council. On its website, it says it “leverages the
experience, expertise, and national and global connections of the HSAC membership to provide
the Secretary real-time, real-world, sensing and independent advice to support decision-making
across the spectrum of homeland security operations.” In 2012, he co-chaired a task force on cyber
skills to try and find the best people in America to work for the Department of Homeland
Security. Five years later, he became the commissioner
for the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. He also regularly holds talks around the world
on the issue of cyber security. “Hacking is sort of a skill set — it’s
neutral. You can be a criminal hacker or you can be
a noncriminal hacker,” he once told CNN in an interview. In his early days, before he started working
for the government, he said he’d do stuff such as break into phone companies to get
free calls. He also said he liked to remove copyright
protections from products. He no longer breaks the law and is probably
one of the most influential people in the world when it comes to computer security. Some other people we will mention were perhaps
part of a darker world of hacking. Nicholas Allegra (Comex)
In 2011, Forbes ran a story on a 19-year old who was said to be one great hacker. His name was Nicholas Allegra, aka, Comex,
and Forbes wrote that often he “sends shockwaves through the computer security world.” That’s because Comex would find holes in
the source code of Apple’s iPhone, and tear apart its many defenses. Comex would release something called the JailBreakMe
code that Forbes said allowed “millions of users to strip away in seconds the ultra-strict
security measures Apple has placed on its iPhones and iPads.” Apparently, Apple wasn’t too fond of this
guy. Well, if you they beat you, hire them, and
that’s what Apple did. It seems he didn’t work there too long,
though. It’s said he was let go by Apple after not
responding to an email that would have prolonged his employment. Allegra then went on to work for Google. Now, we can’t be sure he directly worked
for the government, but some media sources tell us he was offered large sums of money
by various agencies to sell them his way of basically reverse engineering the iPhone. Even if he wasn’t on the government payroll,
this just shows how hacking can land you good jobs at some of the world’s biggest tech
companies. Peiter C. Zatko (Mudge)
This man was once part of the hacker collectivist L0pht and also a prominent member of the hacking
organization Cult of the Dead Cow. It doesn’t seem he was ever interested in
the dark side of hacking and is said to be one of the first guys to reach out to companies
and government and explain to them vulnerabilities. He soon became an important consultant and
worked closely with former president Bill Clinton. After that, he went on to work for the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he ran three big programs called the
Military Networking Protocol, the Cyber-Insider Threat, and the Cyber Fast Track. In 2017 he joined the payments startup, Stripe,
where he was hired as head of security. Hackers for the FBI
It’s well known that the FBI have turned up to hacking conferences looking for talent,
but according to an article in Rolling Stone many of those people can’t land the job
because of their criminal history, their tattoos or the fact they have been known to be fond
of a certain herb. “That’s why I want a job. So I can do it legally,” one hacker told
the interviewer. But in 2017, The Washington Post reported
that the FBI had turned to hackers to help them “crack the iPhone’s four-digit personal
identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all
the data.” The newspaper wrote that at least one person
that was hired to do this fell into the black hat category of hacking, a person who would
sell vulnerabilities in systems back to the people who created the systems. We just don’t know who the hacker or hackers
were, and we probably never will. Kevin Mitnick
This man is one of the world’s most renowned hackers, and he has been severely punished
for some of the things he has done. He also has consulted for the FBI, despite
spending part of his life behind bars. At just a young age he started hacking, leading
the U.S. Department of Justice to accuse him of breaking into many networks. He was convicted of wire fraud and computer
fraud and spent five years in prison, the majority of that in solitary confinement. Many people accused the authorities of coming
down way too hard on the young man, perhaps making an example out of him. But the good news is he went on to consult
for many Fortune 500 companies as well as various government agencies. He’s also written books and has been part
of many documentaries. He once said in an interview, “I was released
from custody and senators Joseph Lieberman and Fred Thompson invited me to Congress to
testify on how the federal government could better protect their computer systems.” The outside threats
In 2018, there was a lot of talk about hackers working for the governments of China, Russia
and Iran trying to steal trade secrets from the USA. One newspaper wrote that Iranian hackers known
as “Rocket Kitten” repeatedly try and hack American Defense companies, while Chinese
hackers go after telecom and aerospace industries. Russian hackers apparently are busy trying
to hack U.S. energy companies, not to mention swaying American minds with content posted
on social media – although that’s hardly hacking. Does America do the same? Well, there were reports in 2018 saying the
new administration was getting more offensive with its cyber-security arm. Would you sign on to work for the government
if you were a hacker, or would you spend most of your days working in informal mode a long
way from the office? The sad truth is that your personal online
accounts are always vulnerable to being hacked, which is why a strong password is vital to
keeping safe online- but who can seriously remember a ten digit password that must have
a number, special character, can’t have been used previously, must be changed every
three months, and must contain the last 18 digits of pi?! Well, Dashlane is here to help- their autofill
feature will make sure that you never need to remember a complicated password or credit
card number ever again, and with constant monitoring you’ll be immediately notified
if any of your accounts have been breached! Head on over to
for a free 30 day trial, and if you use the coupon code ‘infographics’ you can get
10% off a premium subscription today! Have you ever hacked anything? Tell us all about it in the comments. And as always, don’t forget to like, share
and subscribe. See you next time.