The different legends about hackers can make them seem like a potential resource for those who feel the need to go beyond the law. Be it as simple as trying to crack an important encrypted file you’ve forgotten the password to, or as devious as keeping tabs on a person’s moves online, there are reasons why a hacker-for-hire might appeal. But can you actually lay out your own cash for this service, or will you just be scammed?
A Dangerous Underworld?
You might expect that finding a hacker would require delving into a shadowy underworld filled with people using cheap pre-paid mobile phones and handles like xXx1337HackerxXx. Digging into this might be possible, but risky.
You’d be wrong. Finding a computer hacker – for basic password cracking and similar services, at least – is not difficult. A simple Google search for “hackers for hire” will reveal the sites for a number of organizations like Hire 2 Hack and . These organizations promise that they can crack databases, emails or websites.
Of course, they want money in exchange. Hire 2 Hack, for example, has a $150 minimum charge for hacking an email account. More complex work, like hacking a website, usually requires that you submit information about the website you’d like to hack in order to receive a quote. It’s not much different than hiring a contractor to fix your patio.
Playing With Fire
At first glance, many of the hacking services online look at least somewhat legitimate. Although not the same as a legitimate company website, they usually offer multiple payment options and conform to a reasonable standard of website design and copy editing. Most of the red-flags that indicate a scam website, like annoying pop-ups, poor grammar and audio/video content that plays without permission, are not found on these sites.
However, that doesn’t guarantee that these sites are safe. Since the service is illegal, you are not going to have much leverage if there is a customer service issue. In my research, I found that there are surprisingly few complaints online about people being simply ripped off by such services, but it’s always a risk.
A bigger risk is the potential that your hacking request will be used as blackmail. There are several articles online describing a situation where a person hires a hacker to obtain a password or perform some other service, only to have the hacker turn around and threaten to tell the target who hired them. A post by someone named Matt Bennet on Ripoff Report accuses YourHackerz.net of blackmailing him for $1,000.
Of course, all of this information is obscured by the anonymity of the Internet. For example, the above report only accuses YourHackerz.net of blackmail, but the poster does not report that he actually paid the money or provide any substantial details about his experience. Is Matt Bennet real, or is he a competitor trying to discredit the service? What about the posters who reply to Matt Bennet’s article, claiming they had successful experiences? Are they real, or are they simply trying to drum up business with fake reviews?
Can you hire hackers online? Yes, you can. I’m sure you could hire them offline as well, if you know who to speak to or where to look.
The more important question is – can you trust computer hackers you hire online? In my opinion, no, you can’t. This does not mean every hacker service, or even a majority of them, is a scam or is staffed by malicious hackers looking to blackmail customers. However, because the service is illegal, there’s no way to determine the reputation of the service, and there’s no accountability. This means there is no basis for trust.
If you do choose to hire a hacker, it would be wise to protect your identity. Do not use your real email address, do not provide personal information, and for the love of all that is holy, don’t pay with a credit or debit card!