You know those commercials on Hulu for Angie’s List? It’s a paid membership site for (supposedly) trustworthy local business reviews. But if you don’t need a gardner or plumber recommendation, maybe the services over at Hacker’s List will be more appealing.
For the man in Sweden who wants to pay as much as $2,000 for access to his landlord’s website, Hacker’s List is the perfect resource. As the New York Times notes, the site has been around since early November, and people have listed more than 500 hacking jobs that need doing. The idea is that hackers with relevant expertise bid on jobs they want to undertake, then they complete milestones set by the lister as a way of monitoring work progress. The site collects a fee when the job is completed, and it says that AES-256 bit encryption keeps both posters and hackers totally anonymous.
“Hiring a hacker shouldn't be a difficult process,” the site says. “We believe that finding a trustworthy professional hacker for hire should be a worry free and painless experience. ... Our strict review process ensures that we keep scammers and frauds away.” It's a compelling pitch, right down to the seemingly oxymoronic part about a “trustworthy professional hacker.”
The big question about a site like this, though, is whether it’s at all, in any way, even a little bit legal. Thomas G. A. Brown, a senior managing director with FTI Consulting and former chief of the computer and intellectual property crime unit of the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, told the Times, “Hackers for hire can permit nontechnical individuals to launch cyberattacks with a degree of deniability, lowering the barriers to entry for online crime.”
There are similar sites out there, like Hacker for Hire and Neighborhood Hacker. The former is pretty up front about its morals and has an emblem that says “HiTech Crime Solutions” in the top left of its site. The latter presents a more delicate balance by claiming to offer both “professional” and “ethical” hackers. There are also sites like Hacker for Hire Review and Ripoff Report that provide evaluations of hired hacker sites. Hacker’s List is the top-rated service on Hacker for Hire Reviews.
Hacker’s List was down for a few hours today, supposedly because it is “currently upgrading server hardware to better serve you.” It’s always more fun to use sites where you don’t know if “server upgrade” is a euphemism for high traffic or a legal probe.