“Any hackers here today? Okay, a few. Any criminals here today?” Those were the words used by Pablos Holman as he kicked off his talk recently, at the Check Point CPX360 event.
We hear a lot about hackers in the context of crime. But some are actually on the side of good. To hacker and futurist Pablos Holman, it’s a matter of how you use your powers.
Holman believes hackers’ brains are different because they are curious by nature. “Nobody’s ever invented a new technology by reading the directions,” he said. The mindset of hackers is discovering what’s “technically possible.”
As an example, he told the audience about his friend, Samy. Samy Kamkar is best known for his “Samy” worm virus on the website MySpace, once the largest social networking website in the world. As Holman described it, the objective was to meet girls on the internet. Instead, Kamkar met trouble and some cybercrime authorities.
To avoid prison time, Kamkar had to plead guilty to felony charges of computer hacking and pay a $20,000 fine. In addition, he was charged with three years’ probation and 720 hours of community service. Kamkar was also prohibited from using the internet during the duration of his probation. Holman told the audience that since Kamkar’s probation has ended, he’s figured out how to manipulate Google Maps to make traffic-free routes for himself by steering drivers to other routes under the guise of poor traffic conditions. Apparently, once a hacker, always a hacker.
But Kamkar isn’t anywhere close to the worst of the hackers, as Holman points out–especially when you consider high-profile viruses such as Blaster, Botnet Aurora, Stuxnet, and Mirai. His point: There have been and probably always will be security breaches. “The goal is to understand this is really important. The industry we’re in, the work we’re doing is important.”
Watch the full presentation here.