Two Italian hackers shared how profitable it is to run a business that sells software flaws to conflicting nations.
The hackers, Luigi Auriemma, 32, and Donato Ferrante, 28, living in Malta courageously told their story to Boston Globe. They didn’t reveal the names of their buyers but told that these buyers were willing to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to acquire any information that they can use against the computer software of their enemy country.
These young hackers run a company which they named ReVuln had clients who wanted them to hack the National Security Agency to identify software flaws which can reveal the agency’s records of rising armory of cyber weapons as well as the U.S opponent Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Their job is to decode the ‘zero days’ in computer software such as the Microsoft Windows which will allow their client to have free and full access of any computer being targeted. It may be a business, agency, or a famous individual.
Few years ago, they were under negotiation with Apple and Microsoft which would like to acquire the data they have which holds the flaws in their software. However, they didn’t immediately accept the offer and waited for more profitable offers. The Boston Globe reported that Microsoft had already increased the offer to $150,000.
Businesses are having a hard time negotiating with hacking companies because the governments pay higher than them. Three summers ago, the U.S and Israel had successfully intercepted Iran’s nuclear development program using a virus called ‘Stuxnet’. The act of attacking an enemy using a computer flaw is called ‘zero-day exploit’.
Though the government is aware that the act is illegal and unjust, there is an explanation provided in attempt to justify it. “Governments are starting to say, ‘In order to best protect my country, I need to find vulnerabilities in other countries,’ ” said Howard Schmidt, the former White House cybersecurity coordinator as stated in Boston Globe. “The problem is that we all fundamentally become less secure.”
Well, the U.S is not alone in this bid. Some of the biggest clients are Israel, Britain, Russia, India, and Brazil. North Korea had recently joined the market, so does nations from the Middle East. Malaysia and Singapore are buying too. This buyer-list is from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Some of the companies that were blunt about their research and intelligence services are Vupen (France), Netragard (Mass. U.S), Exodus Intelligence (Texas, U.S) and ReVuln, Auriemma and Ferrante ( Malta).