Most people think of hacking as a bad thing, mainly because the media only pays attention to events that impact our society in a negative manner. Few people seem to be aware of how there are ethical hackers as well, whose primary goal is to ensure companies, services, and products are able to withstand most hacking attempts. It is time we take a look at some of the white hat hackers everyone should be familiar with.
#4 Greg Hoglund
Even though the name Greg Hoglund will not sound familiar to most people, we owe him a lot of respect and gratitude. If it wasn’t for his tireless work related to researching rootkits and vulnerabilities, the world would look very different right now. He even found a massive vulnerability in popular MMORPG World of Warcraft, which eventually launched his career as an author. Greg Hoglund is still active as a white hat hacker to this day, as he is the founder of Outlier Security.
#3 Dan Kaminsky
Not to be confused with the American actor and singer, Dan Kaminsky is a security researcher who made quite a name for himself back in 2008. He is the person responsible for discovering a unique DNS system flaw, which would allow any hacker to execute cache poisoning attacks on virtually every nameserver. Considering how nearly every internet service requires on the DNS protocol, this flaw had to be patched quickly. A patch was developed in secret, and it was released a few days after the initial discovery.
Over the years, Kaminsky has remained at the forefront of fighting cyber crime whenever he could. He was one of the first to discover Coinficker-infected hosts all had a detectable signature. Moreover, he also discovered a handful of flaws in the SSL protocol, which were fixed shortly afterward. Kaminsky also released a tool – called Interpolique – that helps developers address injection attacks in a comfortable manner.
#2 Dr. Charlie Miller
Charlie Miller is one of the few ethical hackers who previously worked for an intelligence agency. After a five-year stint working for the NSA, Miller switched jobs and became a security researcher for Uber not too long ago. Most of his “fame” stems forth from demonstrating Apple product exploits, including being able to crack the Safari browser. He also discovered various flaws in the iPhone and iPad devices. Perhaps his biggest feat to date is remotely hacking a Jeep Cherokee in 2014, effectively remotely taking control of the vehicle.
#1 Kevin Mitnick
The story of Kevin Mitnick started out in a very different manner compared to how most people know him today. Most people know Mitnick from using social engineering attacks to bypass the Los Angeles bus system at a young age. He also attacked various computer networks out of curiosity to see how far he could gob before being discovered. One has to admit Kevin Mitnick is an invaluable contributor to the world of cyber security, as his “escapades” showed the world hackers could get into their systems with relative ease.
After being arrested in 1995 and spending five years in prison for various computer hacking crimes Mitnick started his own security firm. He is also an active advisory board member at Zimperium, a company we briefly touched upon in an earlier article. People who want to know more about Kevin Mitnick should check out his “Ghost in the Wires” book, as it document’s most of his early life as a hacker.
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