#CyberFLASH: Mafiaboy grows up: computer hacking taught him how to protect companies

michael-calce-also-know-as-mafiaboy-thursday-october-9-2Mafiaboy is now a man and he’s on a mission.

As a 15-year-old hacker in 2000, Mafiaboy (real name: Michael Calce) paralyzed the websites of the biggest names in media and e-commerce, including CNN, Amazon and eBay. The RCMP and FBI tracked him down in Île-Bizard. He pleaded guilty to 58 charges and spent eight months in a youth detention centre.

Now 31, Calce recently started a cyber-security company — Optimal Secure — focusing on the financial sector in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. His specialty: “penetration testing.” Companies hire him to try to penetrate their computer defences so they can secure systems before hackers strike.

Computer hacking is a constant threat. In recent weeks alone, hackers have: broken into some of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s accounts; forced the University of Calgary to pay a $20,000 ransom after crippling its computer systems; stolen $81 million U.S. from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The Montreal Gazette sat down with Calce and learned that “spear-phishing email attacks” are among the scary things to fear online today. 

Read more here

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