A lot of hackers cling to the dream they’ll become the next Kevin Mitnick, and get so famous they’ll be able to parlay their notoriety into a paid gig programming or supervising computer security. Smart companies can capitalise on that greed: When software maker Valve was hacked and the code for its Half-Life 2 leaked onto the Internet in 2003, it offered Axel Gembe (a/k/a “Ago” a/k/a “DaGuy”), who claimed credit for the hack, a job. But the idea wasn’t to get help with their network, it was to lure the hacker onto American soil where he could be arrested.
Threat Level has the story:
Gembe detailed how he’d cracked the company’s network, first entering through an account that had no password, then ramping up to root access using remote CGI exploits and scanning software.
After the interview, the then-21-year-old Gembe sent the company his résumé. “Well, I really hope you hire me,” he wrote. “I’m no bad guy, just a little misguided.”
Newell passed the resume along to the feds, then invited Gembe to travel to Seattle for a follow-up interview in person. “We pay for all interview related expenses (travel, hotel, food, etc. …) as well as relocation expenses (pretty standard for the game business).”
Ultimately, Gembe didn’t take the bait, and the hacker got sentenced to probation in Germany. But it remains a standard trick in the anti-hacker arsenal: in 2001, two hackers from Russia were flown to the US where they were greeted with handcuffs at the airport.
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