Chennai: Even though the cyber cell attached to the national and state security agencies solve several cyber crime cases, it is a few ethical hackers, not coming into the limelight but working behind the scenes, who help the police solve several high-profile cyber crimes.
Several of these ethical hackers are either college dropouts or highly qualified computer professionals in the age group if 20-30 years with an urge to crack down on criminals.
Reminiscing about how he started his career as an ethical hacker during his college days, one of the hackers, on condition of anonymity, said it was the bug bounty programme (many websites and software developers reward people who find bugs in their coding and report it) by one of the world’s top software companies, which attracted him to get into ethical hacking.
This young ethical hacker mostly works at night with his latest computer devices and some homebrew ones, invisible to the regular web user. It was once when he helped his friend, another ethical hacker, solve a cyber crime that made security agencies get in touch with him.
“Some of my friends and I work together to help security agencies solve several cyber crime-related cases. Numerous criminal gangs that operate out of countries like Russia, China and Africa are well-connected in the dark web where we exchange information with them about fraudulent cases,” he said.
Recalling how he helped a multinational bank crack down a hacker who gained access to their server to steal data, the white hat hacker said their group took the issue to the international war room for Internet, which had experts from all across the world, who immediately tracked the identity of the hacker and pulled him down.
Another white hat hacker who helps security agencies was of the opinion that it was only in the past that security agencies lacked expertise.
Now, with a lot of training, they have also picked up expertise to track cyber crime, but not to the extent that professionals do.
“The state police crack crimes on social networking websites like Facebook, email-related frauds, etc., but today the crime happens using dark web where only professionals with immense knowledge about The Onion Router (TOR) and with sophisticated expensive equipment can handle. This is where we come into play to help governments,” he said.
A cyber crime police official confirmed that their department outsources technical expertise from ethical hackers occasionally.
“We use the specialisation of these ethical hackers in cracking down complaints of website hacking and email accounts getting compromised. When the AIADMK website was hacked last year, we took expert help from a white hat hacker to narrow down the culprit,” the official added.
Location: Tamil Nadu