The Skill of Deceit

The most skillful deceiver in the World today is the PC Hacker. Some of these people steal identifications, some steal credit card numbers, some infect and destroy what others have built.

Today I read about the "record holder" for credit card and debit card data theft. While he was under indictment for stealing 40 MILLION credit account numbers, he stole another 130 MILLION!

His name is Albert Gonzalez. He worked as an informant for the U.S. Secret Service. And, while he assisted the U.S. Govt in tracking down fellow hackers, he was simultaneously funneling information to the very same hackers and criminals about ongoing investigations, etc.

It is difficult to say which job was his sideline and which was his primary. We do know his career fields: Cyber criminal. Thief. Con Man.

Is it the "challenge" that leads people to become computer criminals? Do they enjoy pitting their skills and intelligence against those who seek to defeat them? It sounds almost like a video game! Is it just a "game" to them? (I was a victim of debit card fraud last year and it was not a game to me.)

Where do these "hackers" obtain their skills? Who exactly teaches them how to "hack"?

As individuals we are defenseless against them. We depend upon others to defeat them. We hope that the anti-virus, anti-spyware companies like Symantec, McAfee, AVG, etc. have hackers that are as good as the criminal hackers.

Are the good guys as "good" as the bad guys? And, how many of the "good" guys are working both sides?


  1. Doug, while I don't condone crime I wish these people took more of a Robin Hood approach. As a victim too of these crimes it bothers me most that they pick on the "little guy" who is just getting by. Your question is a good one, how do these people learn to do this and then how do they get hooked up with like-minded criminals? Plus, don't they know that because of their greed they will most likely get caught sooner or later (hopefully sooner)?

  2. What bothers me the most is that these people have taken something good and ruined it. The internet has opened up a whole new world to so many but there always has to be someone out there who wants to take advantage and profit from someone elses hard work.

  3. I disagree that we as individuals are defenseless against hackers. I would say that most information stolen from people is stolen directly via phishing. So the best defense is to really pay attention every time your card information is involved, like looking for the https: in the address bar, buying only from companies you know, and using online security features like Paypal. I'm sorry you were the target of a thief. Debit card is worse too because there are fewer legal protections. Did you learn anything in your experience that you would wished you knew ahead of time? Share some of that hard-won experience. :)
    You are right that when real financial companies get hacked it's not the fault of the customer, but again it's up to the individual to monitor their own credit reports for fraud.
    As to where hackers learn the technical aspects of hacking, it must be from school or self-taught. That's probably the easy part. The social aspects of hacking come from more experienced hackers. Anywhere there's people there's going to be criminals unfortunately.

  4. Wasn't there a movie about this topic staring Tom Hanks as the FBI agent and Leonardo DiCaprio as the con man (airline pilot)?
    I think most hackers are driven by the pure thrill of the chase (in this particular case - hacking) and secondary of course is greed.


I would be very pleased if you leave a comment. I will read every one too!!!
Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula