Crisis Management Risk: Hackers for Hire

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    All it takes is an open wallet to have a target hacked

    We all know hackers are out there, but did you realize many are selling their skills openly to anyone who will pay a fee? Earlier this month Business Insider’s Cale Guthrie Weissman spoke with security experts to find out just how easy it is to rent a hacker:

    “There are multiple pages on the dark web where you can rent a hacker,” Chris Hadnagy, CEO of the penetration testing firm Social Engineer, told Business Insider. Hadnagy has a vast history of knowing the ins and outs of the nefarious cyber world as his firm has been hired by both huge companies and the government to find hacking vulnerabilities.

    “It’s done through covert channels,” he explained, noting that his research had taken him to multiple sites where hackers are both selling their individual exploits as well as selling their expertise as a whole.

    For example, some hackers have offered jilted boyfriends’ access to their girlfriends’ Instagram and emails, experts have told Business Insider. These sort of exploits have been around for 20+ years, but they are now becoming easier and easier to find.

    Hackers are more than willing to help paying customers target businesses as well. Imagine the damage a competitor, or heck, just someone who doesn’t like what you’re doing, could cause by paying for access to your corporate emails or arranging for critical services to go down at the worst time possible and you see the problems this market can create.

    As far as crisis management for these types of situations goes, the number one piece of advice we can give you is to stay knowledgeable and be prepared. You can’t always stop a skilled hacker, but you can be ready to deal with whatever trouble they throw your way.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is vice president for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

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