IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Would you employ a hacker or malware writer?

Microsoft has pointed the figure at a Russian antivirus outfit's former technical expert, claiming he was the brains behind the Kelihos spam botnet. Davey Winder is prompted to ponder whether it's ever advisable to hire a former hacker or malware author...

(DISCLAIMER: Neither IT Pro nor Davey Winder is suggesting that the technical expert allegedly behind the Kelihos. botnet was working for the Russian antivirus company while operating the botnet, nor that the company knew of his criminal interests)

COMMENT:I was in Eastern Europe recently, visiting the HQ and research labs of security vendor ESET. While there I asked some awkward questions of the ESET CEO and CIO. Thankfully, I had them in a Bratislavan board room from which they could not easily escape.

I never hacked for money, just for fun and out of curiosity.

My line of questioning included one about whether they thought that being from that part of the world presented a perceived trust issue amongst Western European customers some of whom may associate the area more with security problems than security solutions.

The answer was - quite correctly in my opinion - that the Eastern Europe association hadn't appeared to have done one Mr Eugene Kaspersky any harm. The answer to my other awkward question 'would you employ a hacker or malware writer?' was met with an equally straightforward 'no.'

However, I am not convinced that this is always the correct answer.

First things first, the AA moment... My name is Davey Winder and I used to be a hacker. Yep, it's true. Although I am now a fairly well respected security journalist and small business consultant, back in the day (and the day in question would have been 20 years ago now) I used to hack into mainframes and networks that didn't belong to me in order to find out how they worked. I never hacked for money, just for fun and out of curiosity.

It was, if we are to be completely honest here, my education as far as IT security was concerned. Not that 20 years ago there was much in the way of security to overcome, especially if we are talking about the online world.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Researchers send “unhackable” quantum data over 370-mile optical fiber
data protection

Researchers send “unhackable” quantum data over 370-mile optical fiber

11 Jun 2021
New study shows global privacy investments increasing
data protection

New study shows global privacy investments increasing

2 Jun 2021
Nigerian cyber criminals target Texas unemployment system
cyber security

Nigerian cyber criminals target Texas unemployment system

27 May 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Researchers demonstrate how to install malware on iPhone after it's switched off
Security

Researchers demonstrate how to install malware on iPhone after it's switched off

18 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022