10:29 AMThe Life of a Hacktivist | Exclusive Interview With a Blackhat
Since black hat hackers that consider
themselves to be hacktivists have been in the attention of the media
lately, breaching the infrastructures of governments and major companies
to prove their point,
I thought it would be a great opportunity to find out not only about
their operations, but also about the life of such a cybercriminal.|
The hacktivist I spoke to claims he is wanted by certain law enforcement agencies and for that reason he didn’t provide his current location and not even his online moniker.
Softpedia: First, tell me about your childhood. What was it like when you were growing up?
Hacker: Well, my childhood was strict. My dad was a what they call "Army Man," so I had to obey most of those army rules, like finishing dinner, doing a lot of work around the house and things like that. He was a mean son of a b***h I can say.
I was kicked out of the house when I was still young and I lived on the streets of a big city for about a year. There, I had to sell drugs to survive.
Softpedia: What about your education. Did you go to college or what schools did you go to?
Hacker: I’m not talking too much about my education, but I finished IT high school, on my own, since I didn’t have a place to live.
Softpedia: When and why did you start hacking?
Hacker: Ohh, it was long time ago, probably 2001-02, when I started getting all hardcore. It was pure fun at the beginning, but later it became more of a mission against corrupt governments. I also did some ‘hacker for hire’ operations.
Softpedia: How did you learn how to hack websites?
Hacker: Well, I didn’t start with websites of course. I remember in '99 or 2000, I can’t remember exactly, there were bunch of kids that said that you can steal user’s emails and that kind of stuff, so I looked more into it and got into those "hacking scene sites."
Then, obviously, I started learning a lot of other things, like installing servers, apache and elements of web servers.
Then I became the system admin of my own site and since I was already in that old-school hacking scene, I started to learn how to find holes in server security and web apps, and started to learn on my own. So, today, I can call myself ‘advanced in hacking.’
Softpedia: How many websites did you hack so far?
Hacker: I didn’t count them exactly, but I can surely say it’s somewhere between 5 - 10k sites of various content. I was never that much into the website defacing thing since you can’t really prove a point by defacing a site.
I was more of a ‘breach - get data - clear logs - move out’ type of hacker, taking over roots and using them as SSH tunnels, or for other purposes.
Softpedia: Did you ever hack just for fun, or was it always about hacktivism?
Hacker: A few years ago it was fun, but now it’s hacktivism, only targeting governments and corrupted companies.
I joined the hacktivist movement after I had some negative experiences with crooked governments. Now, the American government is at the top of my list.
With companies it’s basically the same. They steal money and make choices for people, choices that people don’t approve of.
Softpedia: A lot of black hats get caught these days since the authorities have access to a lot of technology which helps them track down cybercriminals. Are you ever worried that you might get caught?
Hacker: I do fear getting caught, but that’s what’s keeping me from not getting caught. I’m paranoid about hacking important things so I protect myself a lot with tunnels, cracked Wi-Fi's, VPNs, etc.
Even though I take all the precautions, still, I lay down in my bed at night and waiting for Feds to knock on my door or just break in like in the movies. Ha ha.
Softpedia: How old are you now and when do you think you’ll stop hacking websites?
Hacker: I’m almost 30 now and I don’t think I’ll stop hacking until I get caught. It’s kinda in my blood. I’m like a drug addict.
Softpedia: How do you think hackers are seen by the public? Do you believe that the hacktivist movements are welcome?
Hacker: Hackers, in the eyes of the public look like nerds, like those fat kids with big glasses. I know for a fact that it’s not true. First of all, I served in the army so I can guarantee that I don’t fit into the ‘nerd’ profile.
About that "criminal" thing, a few years ago we were seen as bank robbers or rapists in the eyes of the general population, but these hacktivist movements prove that we are all for "changing the world."
Even more, if there were no hackers, humans wouldn’t experience this huge IT evolution. We are a key element in evolution. We are what they call "new kids." Well, I’m not a kid, but yeah, you know where am I’m getting at.