A case of poacher turned gamekeeper —the digital version

Hacker turned security adviser trend intensifies after reformed LulzSec member receives part-time gig

Gabriela Motroc
Hacker face made with numbers image via Shutterstock

Former LulzSec member Mustafa Al-Bassam has been offered a part-time job as a security adviser by payments and cyber security group Secure Trading. He is the second LulzSec member to change sides and continues the trend set by Kevin Mitnick, the world’s most notorious black hat hacker.

London-based payments and cyber security group Secure Trading has hired reformed LulzSec hactivist Mustafa Al-Bassam to help create a platform which applies the verification benefits of blockchain technology. The company aims to boost both the visibility and security of online payments. Beyond the project codenamed “Trustery,” the former hactivist will work with Cognosec, Secure Trading’s sister company as a security adviser.

Al-Bassam and three more hackers pleaded guilty to several charges including stealing thousands of emails, passwords and credit card details from computer servers, defacing websites and crashing websites with distributed denial-of-service attacks and admitted that the crimes were carried out “for their own amusement.” The group bragged about their criminal actions on Twitter and regularly posted hacked information on the LulzSec website.

SEE ALSO: U.S. military invites vetted experts to “Hack the Pentagon” competition

Another case of poacher turned gamekeeper

Secure Trading has given Al-Bassam the opportunity to put his knowledge and skills to good use and claims the former hactivist has shown remorse for channelling his talent in the wrong direction. Al-Bassam was 16 at the time of his arrest. His part-time gig comes after another LulzSec member, Ryan Ackroyd, recently accepted to help the UK’s National Crime Agency on their #cyberchoices campaign video. According to the NCA page, “coding and programming are extremely valuable skills and if your child has an interest you should actively encourage them to do so — but in a lawful way.”

The hiring of Al-Bassam has inspired many people to take a stroll down memory lane and recall the famous case of Kevin Mitnick, the world’s most famous black hat hacker, who broke into the networks of companies such as Nokia, IBM, Motorola and eventually became a white hat hacker following a stint in prison.

SEE ALSO: Increasingly sophisticated hackers going for Java

Hackers put their skills to GOOD use

Al-Bassam and Ackroyd are not the only people with a criminal record that have turned into good guys. Peter Hajas created the oh-so-popular iOS jailbreak app MobileNotifier, but a few months later his profile said he was an intern at Apple. Jeff Moss, the creator of Black Hat eventually became chief security officer at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers; although he no longer occupies this position, his path from founding DEF CON computer hacker conferences to working for the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council has inspired other hackers to put their skills to good use.

Michael Mooney, Kevin Poulsen, Ashley Towns and Chris Putnam are some of the most famous hackers who received several job offers following their hacking stunts.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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