Makes you wonder what these guys would have accomplished had they been born during the Renaissance...case in point: Kevin Mitnick, whose genius was so impressive as a cyber criminal (he hacked into IBM, Motorola, Sun Microsystems and other big-name outfits), that after serving prison time, he was hired as a good guy to help security teams develop penetration-proof systems.
But Mitnick is now onto another venture: Absolute Zero Day Exploit Exchange. Mitnick wants to sell zero-day exploits (targeted surveillance), for at least a hundred grand each. In a wired.com article, for which Mitnick was interviewed, he states: "Researchers find them, they sell them to us for X, we sell them to clients for Y and make the margin in between." He has not revealed how much he's sold or to whom.
But Mitnick says they aren't necessarily government related. For example, a buyer might be a penetration tester. He says he doesn't want to help government agencies go around spying. Why would he want to assist the very people who locked him up in prison?
It's anyone's guess who'd be willing to shell out $100,000 for one of these tools (which would be used to garner information about bugs in the system that have not been addressed by security patches). After all, giants like Facebook pay only tens of thousands of dollars for this kind of tool.
Mitnick isn't the only entrepreneur in the selling of secret hacking techniques; it's already been going on. One of the skepticisms of this venture is just whom the buyer might be. Mitnick says he'll carefully screen his buyers.
Though what Mitnick is doing is legal, it still snags attention because of his past. This guy was once the most wanted cyber criminal in the world, having made a career of hacking from his teens to early 30s, finally getting captured in 1995.