BusinessTECH Speaker: Michael Calce

Michael Calce, one-time teen hacker, describes cybercriminal mentality 

 
One week it’s a national retailer. The next, it’s country's  health insurance company, whose database, with personal information about 80 million of customers, is hacked. 
 
As an IT professional with your own databases to protect, you might want to know: how does the bad guy think?
 
Michale Calce, once the world’s most notorious “black hat hacker” who now wears a white hat, will be the closing plenary speaker at BusinessTECH18.  
 
In 2000, as a 15-year-old high school student,  Calce brought down the websites of Amazon, CNN, Dell, E*Trade, eBay, and Yahoo.  
 
Back then, he says, "the whole of the hacking community was all about notoriety and exploration, whereas you look at hackers today and it's all about monetization."

For the national security apparatus, the attack was a wake-up call. President Clinton convened a cybersecurity working group. Attorney General Janet Reno announced a manhunt for him.

"You know I'm a pretty calm, collected, cool person, but when you have the president of the United States and attorney general basically calling you out and saying 'We're going to find you' ... at that point I was a little bit worried," says Calce.

He was charged with more than 50 crimes and eventually sentenced to eight months in a youth group home.  Today, Calce is what's called a white hat hacker. Looking back, he thinks some good did come from the attack he launched.   "It raised a lot of issues," he says. "It definitely advanced and created a pretty big focus on security, and the problems and inherent flaws that come with computers and internet."