That’s a pretty far flung suggestion, but after my conversation with a “grey hacker” (that’s someone that works on the good side and also a little on the bad side) I’m not sure it’s so far-fetched. The truth is, I love talking to hackers. I think it’s becoming a bit of “thing” of mine, all because I’m trying to get my clients and their “hacker mates” to write a short story book made up of fictional hacker tales – based on the semi-truth. So in my quest to get this book written, I’m interviewing lots of hackers to get their thrilling tales from the underground. Well you could knock me over with a feather with what I’m currently hearing – it’s the most exciting venture I’ve undertaken in a long while.
Only last week my grey hacker friend was telling me about a bloke he met down the pub who has a rather interesting way of boosting his yearly income to pay for his wife’s new car or their expensive annual holiday. He manipulates share prices in what could be dubbed rather brilliant.
This is how it goes. He’s a very proficient IT consultant, called into major organisations to sort out all sorts of IT security issues from fire-fighting to unravelling an IT project that’s gone wrong and needs sorting out. He always chooses one year contracts, which gives him plenty of time to get familiar with the company and the company to get familiar with him. As an IT programmer, he has to get the back-door passwords or admin passwords which basically give him access to everything. He doesn’t use these for anything sinister at all for at least the year. He does a great job for the company and gets paid a fair price. Just before the company goes public with their profit announcements, he goes in through the back door and changes the figures. Of course no-one notices and the figures are very poor and surprises everyone – so of course the price drops. He buys a lot of stock but not so much that people notice he’s bought them, maybe just $50-$75k. Once the accountants have noticed that something has gone awry with the balance sheets, they re-issue the profit announcement and tell the world there was a terrible internal mistake and the price shoots up and he makes a very healthy profit.
That’s clever, obviously hugely illegal, immoral and very wrong – but you have to admire the guy and he’s never been caught because he doesn’t brag about it, isn’t greedy and leaves no trace behind him. I’m not saying this has happened in the case of Tesco’s – because when you read between the lines they look like they’ve just been pretty rubbish at “creative accounting” – but then my more paranoid brain says to me just imagine if there was a hacker that had screwed with their figures and now they’re having to make wonderful excuses to cover their tracks!
You see this book really is messing with my head – but I can’t wait to get all my contributions in from the hackers so you can read it and have your imagination run riot too!