Top 6 White Hat Hackers

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Articles
Tags: , , ,

White HatFor every bad hacker there’s a good one. Here we look at six white hat hackers who have contributed to security advances.

Despite gaining a less than desirable reputation, hacking has not always been the tool of evil.

White hat hackers – those technological boffins who use their skills to help others to improve their security – are just as prolific as black hat hackers. Here are six white hats you wouldn’t want to mess with.

White Hat Hackers

Image by Sebastiaan ter Burg

#1. Greg Holund

Entrepreneur Greg Holund is the founder of HBGary, which provides security software developments. Hoglund was an early researcher in the areas of rootkits, software exploitations, and buffer overflows. His company recently released a new version of Responder Pro security software for Microsoft which allows its users to discover and analyse cyber attacks on Windows systems.

White hats aren’t always immune to attacks themselves though. In 2011, hacking group Anonymous leaked over 20,000 HBGary emails, revealing that Hoglund has worked for the US government. Despite this, Hoglund is still going strong and he is one of the top experts on malicious code.

#2. Barnaby Jack

The late Barnaby Jack shot to the world media stage when he demonstrated how to hack ATMs in 2010, a technique later called jackpotting. He worked prolifically in the medical sector, exposing medical technology’s susceptibility to hacks which could cause death.

Jack specifically exposed weaknesses in insulin pumps, and was due to give a lecture about the possibility of hacking pacemakers just a week after his death – all an attempt to provoke action into eradicating these flaws.

#3. Eric Corley

Nicknamed Emmanuel Goldstein after George Orwell’s character in 1984, Eric Corley is best known for launching the magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. It brings the latest hacker news to its readers, with Corley himself focusing on phone systems.

He is very much in the public eye, often asked to provide opinions on current hacker topics in addition to hosting a weekly hacker radio programme in New York called ‘Off the Hook’.

#4. Jack Whitton

Security researcher Jack Whitton reached the headlines by receiving a so-called ‘bug bounty’ from Facebook. Whitton discovered a bug in Facebook’s text messaging system, which could have been used to hack users’ accounts.

After publishing his find on his blog, Whitton received $20,000 from Facebook as part of its white hat program, and the company fixed the bug just five days after Whitton alerted them to it. Whitton is now listed on Facebook’s ‘thanks’ page.

#5. Tsutomu Shimomura

Tsutomu Shimomura turned a white hat hacker when Kevin Mitnick, a black hat, hacked his computer. In 1995, Shimomura reacted by helping the FBI to capture Mitnick, hacking his phone and tracking him to an apartment complex.

The showdown was also adapted for the big screen. Shimomura now works for the San Diego Supercomputer Center, focusing on computer security.

#6. Steve Wozniack

The other Steve who co-founded Apple, Steve Wozniak began his career with blue boxes. A landmark idea in the history of hacking, Wozniak exposed how telephones could be manipulated into making free long distance calls. Wozniak built blue boxes which could bypass phone switch mechanisms, later selling them to classmates.

He now sells considerably more than that of course at Apple, and he is also recognised in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Have we missed a vital white hat hacker? Share them with us by commenting below!

Article by Julia Molloy, a writer for the GKBC Writers’ Academy.

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