What Are The Risks Of Hiring Ex Black Hat Hackers To Work For Legitimate Companies?

I am sure that everybody who reads this has heard of the old saying, “don’t leave a fox to guard the hen house”, or something similar.

This is an old American saying but sometimes the moral of the story is not true in every situation.

Sometimes it takes a thief to catch a thief.

do black hat hackers make good security consultants?

There will be people out there that disagree with that statement but there are more than one case study where this has proven to be true.

There are some computer security firms that hire ex-black hat hackers to come work for them.

Who better to show them the tricks of the underground than some of the people who have successfully used these very same tricks.

Sometimes this attempt does backfire though.

Kevin Mitnick : From Hacker To Security Consultant

Anyone who has either worked in or at least follows the computer security field knows about the famous hacker known as Kevin Mitnick.

Without getting too specific into his back story, he broke into a bunch of private company’s computers which led the government to start a manhunt to track him down.

He was finally caught and thrown into jail for several years.

He is now out of jail and he has found a place in regular society as a computer security consultant.

His services are always in demand and he is considered one of the top in his field.

This is an example of someone who went down the wrong path and then turned their life around.

There are several more successful tales of former black hats switching to the other side as well.

Some Hackers Go Back To Their Roots

There are also plenty of stories of hackers that tried to stay on the right side of the law but strayed back to their roots.

This is always the chance that you take when you hire someone that used to do criminal activity.

If you are going to take the chance, there are some precautions that you should take.

One precaution is that you should do a background check to see how bad of a criminal history that the person might have.

There are several different types of motivation for people to do crime.

Some crimes are due to a lapse in judgement.

Other crimes are due to the person just being a stone cold criminal.

Doing a background check and having several different personal interviews with the person can help you see what type of person that you are dealing with.

You should also make sure that you keep the person on a short lease during their probationary period at the company.

Once they pass their probation you can not keep treating them as a criminal.

If you want them to do the most effective job that they can, you will have to allow them to be comfortable at work.

No matter the persons past, no one likes to have someone looking over their shoulder at all times.

Hiring a former black hat hacker may be worth the risk in the long run but you will have to remember that it is a risk.

Human nature can be a funny thing.

The person may be legitimately trying to change but circumstances may lead them to feel that they have to go back to crime.

This is the chance that you must take when you hire that kind of  talent.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] One way that is proving to be successful is to hire reformed (and possibly criminal) black hat hackers to defend the company’s networks. […]

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