Five reasons hackers get caught

  • By Walid Afzani

Five things hackers should never do

Real-life hacking is not quite like the movies may have you believe and plenty of cyber criminals and activists alike have left themselves open to detection and identification by making simple ‘school-boy’ errors. Here are five cautionary tales on things not to do if you’re thinking of pursuing a new career as a world renown hacker:

1. Don’t blog about your hack including photos
Remember antiquated social media site MySpace? Samy Kamkar most certainly does. In 2005, when the social network was at the peak of its popularity, he launched a relatively harmless worm that posted the text but most of all, Samy is my hero” to users’ profiles. The virus affected more than a million accounts within 20 hours. Kamkar blogged about his success, but his site included a photo of him with his vehicle registration plate visible, meaning he was very easily be tracked down and brought to justice. He was given a three-year internet ban, 90 days’ community service and a fine of $20,000 USD

2. Don’t use your hacker email address to apply for jobs
When one hacker broke into the US Department of Defence in 2006 causing damages more than $35,000 USD in damages, the authorities investigating the crime had few clues to go on other than his email address: wolfenstein_ingrid@yahoo.com. Luckily, their job was made easier when Romanian business student Eduard Lucian Mandru used the same address on his CV, which he posted to job websites in 2009. He was promptly arrested as is facing a mind warping sentence of 12 years behind bars.

3. Don’t email yourself from Kelly Osbourne’s account
In 2010, a lone hacker broke into Kelly Osbourne’s personal email account . Something that the singer took to shouting about on twitter. Unfortunately for the hacker, he decided that reading the celebrity’s private messages wasn’t good enough and forwarded them to his own address. When she discovered the sent messages, she knew exactly who he was and was able to forward the details to the police.

4. Don’t make a spelling mistake when robbing a bank
Early 2016, hackers carried out a cyber heist on Bangladesh’s central bank. They successfully stole approximately £61 million, but the figure would have been much, much higher if it wasn’t for a simple spelling mistake on a transfer request for another £15 million. The robbers misspelled the word “foundation” as “fandation” in the name of a Sri Lankan non-profit organisation, prompting Deutsche Bank to check with the Bangladeshi bank, which stopped the transaction immediately.

5. NEVER do anything you see hackers do in movies
Movies and television shows are notoriously terrible at depicting computer coding and hacking, probably because somebody sitting at a keyboard typing away endlessly isn’t that exciting to watch. From James Bond’s plethora of IT marvels to House of Cards’ hacker Gavin Orsay, there have been some truly awful dramatic scenes of fast typing and peculiar dialogue boxes over the years. If you’re looking to reenact hacking scenes like these, perhaps it’s best to stick to an online simulator instead, at least you won’t do any harm that way.


W.Afzani@theinternational.org.uk

This article can be read on: Apple News, Google News, IPMG News, The International (Online).