How Hackers Hire

May 7, 2016

Ever wonder how hackers fill job openings, search-related or otherwise? A discussion at the forum tehPARADOX.COM considers, “How Hackers Recruit New Talent.” Poster MorningLightMountain cites a recent study by cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows, which reportedly examined around 100 million websites, both on the surface web and on the dark web, for recruiting practices. We learn:

“The researchers found that the process hackers use to recruit new hires mirrors the one most job-seekers are used to. (The interview, for example, isn’t gone—it just might involve some anonymizing technology.) Just like in any other industry, hackers looking for fresh talent start by exploring their network, says Rick Holland, the vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows. ‘Reputation is really, really key,’ Holland says, so a candidate who comes highly recommended from a trusted peer is off to a great start. When hiring criminals, reputation isn’t just about who gets the job done best: There’s an omnipresent danger that the particularly eager candidate on the other end of the line is actually an undercover FBI agent. A few well-placed references can help allay those fears.”

Recruiters, we’re told, frequently advertise on hacker forums. These groups reach many potential recruits and are often password-protected. However, it is pretty easy to trace anyone who logs into one without bothering to anonymize their traffic. Another option is to advertise on the dark web— researchers say they even found a “sort of for cybercrime” there.

The post goes on to discuss job requirements, interviews, and probationary periods. We’re reminded that, no matter how many advanced cybersecurity tools get pushed to market, most attack are pretty basic; they involve approaches like denial-of-service and SQL injection. So, MorningLightMountain advises, any job-seeking hackers should be good to go if they just keep up those skills.


Cynthia Murrell, May 7, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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