Sign up FAST! Login

From White Hat to Black – The Curious Case of Cybercrime Kingpin Max Vision | Privacy PC

Stashed in: Hackers!, Crime

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

evin Poulsen, former hacker and currently Senior Editor at, gives a captivating talk at RSA Conference on the intricate story of the cyber criminal named Max Ray Vision (Max Butler) who ended up going from white hat to black hat.

Thanks for coming, everybody. So, as you’ve heard, I’m a journalist, I’ve been at Wired for about 6 years, and before that I was at the and I’ve done freelancing for magazines and the like. And if you go back far enough, I’m also a former black hat hacker, though the word didn’t really exist back then – it was a long time ago. I was into the phone company extensively, which means both I liked the phone company and I was into them, so I was into the switching systems and the ordering systems, and all the testing systems. And it started off as a purely recreational thing, an extension of the phone freaking – it began before I was born, and by the end I found a way to monetize it: I started using my access to phone company switches to cheat at radio station phone-in contests. By today’s standards of cyber crime it was kind of slim pickings, but I got like a Porsche and a bunch of trips to Hawaii, and some cash, in total like 70,000 dollars.

I got caught, should have mentioned that part, and I ended up serving about 5 years in jail, it was all pre-trial custody, I was ultimately sentenced to time served and released. When I got out, I was not allowed to use computers connected to the Internet for a time; I worked as a canvasser for a political organization and I started doing freelance writing, and that eventually turned into a journalism career because once you’re convicted felon, how can you possibly sink any lower than to become a reporter?

So I’ve covered over the years a huge number of hackers and hacker gangs, and law enforcement people that have tracked them, and I found the subject fascinating, not just because of my own past, but because of the way the cybercrime scene has evolved. And when it came time for me to write a book, it was about this particular hacker who I found particularly interesting because he kind of epitomized himself the transition that we have all seen over the last decade of hacking as being primarily recreational thing, the kids doing it in their bedrooms like Matthew Broderick in “WarGames”, to being a professional criminal enterpris

Is it me or are Hackers getting ever-more sophisticated?

ever-more sophisticated

That's what I thought. Damn.

Protecting ourselves is going to get harder in the future.

step 1: talk to itsoftware

You May Also Like: