What Does a Hacker Look Like?

So you’ve been wondering – what does a hacker really look like anyway? They can’t all be wearing dark hoodies hunched over a keyboard in the dark, but that’s the image that’s always portrayed.

This should not come as a surprise to you, but hackers look like normal people. They look like the waiter at your local restaurant, they look like the person who just served you your coffee, and they are among us every day. Now there are many different types of hackers, but for the sake of this article, we are going to be talking about malicious hackers or cyber criminals.

If you start to Google some notable hackers (and I suggest you do, their stories are pretty wild!) you will come across names like Hector Monsegur (former Anonymous hacker in Aqueity’s recent webinar), Kevin Mitnick, Kevin Poulsen, and Bryan Seely. You’ll be surprised to see that they all look like ‘the guy next door’.

And where are they located you ask? Hackers can be anyone and they are everywhere, in fact, the U.S. is second to China in terms of attack output. This report from Cloudflare will give you an idea of where these attacks are originating from. According to Cloudflare, the top 10 countries of DDoS attacks are:

Interview With a Former Anonymous Hacker

Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to interview Hector Monsegur, former Anonymous hacker, turned corporate pen tester. Monsegur grew up in the projects on the Lower East side of New York in a family trapped in a world of poverty and drugs. Trying to find a better life for himself and his nieces, Monsegur found that his computer skills could empower him far above his socioeconomic barriers and his 9th grade education – but also led him into the dark world of hacking. 

Threatened with his nieces being taken away from him, Hector began to cooperate with the FBI providing them intelligence on vulnerabilities in order to prevent future hacks as Anonymous rampaged through hundreds of targets. He has helped the FBI prevent several hundred devastating cybersecurity attacks like the ones he once orchestrated. Hector has since exchanged his “Black Hat” for a “White Hat”. 

During our interview with Hector, we wanted to ask him a few questions that would give us a better idea of what the modern day hacker looks like. His answer did not disappoint. During the webinar, he explained how easy it is for these adversaries to gain sensitive data that could severely disrupt and possibly disband large organizations. Monsegur went on to say “Last year we had the Nvidia and Samsung hacks. It was executed by a 16-year-old kid in the United Kingdom. He wasn’t a prolific hacker, he wasn’t a hacker at all. In the case of this UK teenager, he took some money that he probably gained from gambling or ransomware and he purchased access to Nvidia and Samsung.” Monsegur explained that this is ” A brand new attack path that many organizations are not even considering”.

Unfortunately in our digital world hackers are everywhere and can be anyone and everyone. Unfortunately, victims can be anyone as well. Watch the full webinar below for simple, effective ways to best protect yourself and your company from becoming the next ransomware victim.

Full Webinar Recording.

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