WWIII: Hacker Wars
Last year, black hat hackers launched a total of four billion cyber attacks. That was five times greater than the cyber attacks in 2015. Across the world, damages from cyber attacks cost trillions of dollars.
WHITE HAT HACKERS
But there is an army of white hat hackers who fight to stop these cyber attacks. They are on the front lines of the cyber war. They hack company websites and computer networks but instead of stealing information or holding it on hostage, they report vulnerabilities to and get paid for doing so.
Major corporations and the U.S. government have paid an army of white hat hackers millions of dollars every year in a desperate fight to keep their system safe. Sometimes they ask hackers to check their network, but there are times white hat hackers come uninvited.
WHO ARE AT RISK?
The healthcare industry is the newest target for black hat hackers. In the U.S., all healthcare organizations have reported at least one cyber attack.
This is disgusting because hackers attack the most vulnerable members of society by attacking a hospital. This kind of cyber attack can be a form of terrorism. Any alteration in one of the medical records on file, like allergic reactions or blood type, may mean a life and death situation. Imagine if false readings are sent to any medical devices to unsuspecting medical personnel.
But why are hackers targeting hospitals? For one, there are financial records in there. Financial records equate to profit. Do you know that hackers can sell your credit card number from 10 to 15 cents per credit card number? For another, hackers can sell your medical record from 25 to 500 dollars depending on the information.
But why the big difference in prices? For hackers, it is easy for them to replicate another’s identity with a health record as opposed to someone’s credit card information.
BUG BOUNTY PROGRAM
Do you know that there is such a thing as a hacking convention? Hackers around the world gather every year. At conventions like this, white hat hackers not only learn from each other, but also compete for cash for what is known as the bug bounty programs. Companies like pay to see which hackers discover bugs in a certain amount of time. After three long nights, hackers at the convention found and helped fix more than a 150 vulnerabilities for three companies.
White hats have more options to hack things legally. In the past, hacking was taken in a wrong way and hackers are considered a renegade who is to be feared. It’s more than just finding bugs or vulnerabilities. These white hats know the power of what they’re doing and going to the dark side is far from what they’re thinking.
But experts admit that white hat hacking is a gamble. It is good that there are companies who are aware of their own vulnerabilities. But it also puts them or their computer networks at risk by allowing outsiders to come into their system. These companies better hope that their incentives are worth it and far better for hackers to turnover what they find.