Cyber Security Vigilantism: Invaluable Tool, or Unnecessary Headache?

Cyber Security has been a consistent priority for companies throughout the digital age. As security protocols become more sophisticated, so too do hackers and fraudsters that seek to exploit the system. It has become more and more difficult for the average person to determine whether an inquiry is legitimate or not, which makes fraudsters target vulnerable groups like the elderly or disabled. As a response, individuals and hacker groups have taken it upon themselves to expose fraudsters and prevent them from continuing by any means necessary. However, are people doing the right thing by working alone exposing hackers and scammers, or does it impede the process for those working with law enforcement?

What is Cyber Security Vigilantism?

Cyber Security vigilantism is the practice where tech-savvy individuals or groups take matters into their own hands to protect others against cyber threats or phishing schemes. Different groups achieve this in a variety of ways, most of which violate international and local laws. Vigilante hackers essentially utilize the same tactics as nefarious fraudsters and hackers to surveil, expose, or generally waste the time and money of these groups with the hopes that it will deter them from continuing their operations. 

An additional method of cyber security vigilantism is the practice of hacking into the data and security systems of unsuspecting organizations or individuals to identify vulnerabilities and inform the afflicted individuals of their lack of preparedness. The intentions of these cyber security vigilantes are usually good, but they can have serious legal ramifications and possibly impede on existing law enforcement operations. For example, if a hacker acts alone to expose a fraudulent call center, they may inadvertently alert the leaders of these criminal organizations and cause them to flee the scene with all the evidence before law enforcement has time to intervene. 

Utilizing The Goodwill of Hackers for Data Recovery

Cyber security vigilantism is a complex issue with both legal and ethical implications. On the one hand, it can be argued that these individuals are acting in the public interest by exposing weaknesses in security systems and raising awareness about cyber threats. On the other hand, their actions can be seen as illegal hacking and have the potential to cause emotional or financial harm to those they seek to “help.”

One of the many ways data security and tech companies empower hackers who are eager to help the greater good is to create cyber security hacking competitions. Companies motivate the world’s best hackers to breach and report on every weakness they’re able to find within the systems with cash prizes or career opportunities. For example, Apple paid out over $20 million in a single year for their “bug bounty” program, which encourages hackers to find software bugs. 

Not every organization has the resources to dedicate this amount of time and money to prevent potential data leaks, which is why the members of the Stolen Asset Recovery Network utilize the expertise of law enforcement and cyber security experts to recover lost assets and find justice. If you or your organization have been the victim of any type of cyber heist, corruption, or another damaging event, contact us to schedule a consultation and begin the important process of recovering your assets today.

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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