Here’s an interesting CNet piece with author and security guru (and the world’s most famous former hacker) Kevin Mitnick. Here’s a snippet:
Do you feel that your hacking has led to positive change in some way?
Yes. It led to my career. Today I speak around world, I do pen testing all the time–and deep penetration testing, where I go after the most sensitive credentials at a company to see if I can get to the crown jewels. I see what I can do as an ethical hacker. I really enjoy this work because when is it that you can take a criminal activity, legitimize it, and get paid for it? Ethical hacking. It’s not like you can be a drug dealer and go work for Walgreens…A lot of pen testers today have done unethical things in their past during their learning process, especially the older ones because there was no opportunity to learn about security. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, it was all self-taught. So a lot of the old-school hackers really learned on other people’s systems. And at the time, I couldn’t even afford my own computer. A dumb terminal was like $2,000. A 1,200-baud modem was like $1,200. The cost of this technology was out of my range as a high school student so I used to go to local universities and use their system, albeit without their knowledge, to learn.