The owner of the controversial Craigslist for hackers comes into open
Charles Tendell calls himself an hacker with moral principles who helps individuals and companies to stand up against the bad guys that operate online. Charles Tendell over the years has become prominent as a news commentator talking about the threat raised by overseas hackers and is also a former co-host of an online radio show about security.
However, Mr. Tendell, a Colorado resident and a decorated Iraq War veteran, has been working privately out of public view on a new website called Hacker’s List. This website let’s people to post bids to hire a hacker without disclosing their names. Many users have attempted to find someone who can break into a Facebook account or hack an email password or make changes to a school grade.
On Tuesday, Mr. Tendell, 32, owner of a consulting firm called Azorian Cyber Security in Denver confirmed that he was the exclusive owner of the website. He said Hacker’s List that started as something of an “off the cuff idea,” grew very fast than he expected.
Mr. Tendell, a graduate of the University of Phoenix became an authorized information systems security professional and an ethical hacker in the year 2011. “I never expected it to turn into what it is. I was testing the waters and wanted to see if it works,” he said.
The decision on whether Hacker’s List, which started in November, will work as a business is still in dispute. The inclination is for people to use it as a way to find people who are willing to go against the law as opposed to doing legal online investigations and surveillance.
The website has caused an uproar in the online world because of its uncommon approach of matching ordinary people who are looking to do little private spying with so-called hackers-for-hire. The company charges a fee for every completed assignment, has gathered considerable amount of news coverage, which includes a front-page article in The New York Times in January. The major part of the article concentrated on the doubtful and vague legality of the requests.
The identity of the owner of Hacker’s List had remained a mystery until now. On a number of occasions, an employee of Hacker’s List named “Jack” had said that the founder was not fully prepared to talk.
The anonymity surrounding Hacker’s List is one of the reason for the hackers-for-hire service has drawn enormous sarcasm from security consultants, who feel the website is an invitation to illegal and immoral behavior. The owners according to some lawyers said could be civilly responsible for continuing a service that allows customers to look to employ hackers for illegal activities.
Some section of the people think that the website is an lengthy and exaggerated online joke or a sting operation set up by federal authorities.
The website’s rules of operation constantly state that the service does not accept and allow illegal activity. However, this has done a little to prevent people from looking to employ hackers to carry out tasks that many would say is against the law.
According to Mr. Tendell, most of the assessment of Hacker’s List was incorrectly positioned. He stated that even though an illegal job was posted by an anonymous user, it would not necessarily mean that it would be carried out. In clear terms, he said that illegal job postings were removed if someone expressed dissatisfaction, but what mattered the most were the jobs that were finished.
“No one is going to complete an illegal project through my website,” he said.
Since its debut, Hacker’s List has had its share of operational hiccups with its website crashing several times. A little more than 4,000 potential jobs have been posted on Hacker’s List, but many of them have not got a bid from a hacker. Around 250 jobs had been finished from the website went online said Mr. Tendell.
While some hackers have attempted to interrupt the service, the service more recently have prohibited hackers looking to illegally get money from job posters.
Twitter have temporarily removed the Hacker’s List account a few days ago, which automatically sends out new job postings. Nor Twitter or Twitter spokesman chose to comment on the suspension but many of the account’s tweets encouraged jobs like “hack a PayPal account.” Mr. Tendell said he was not sure as to why Twitter suspended the account.
Erik Solomonson, a blogger residing in New York and working for a web hosting company was the one responsible to unveil Mr. Tendell’s role in part in setting up the Hacker’s List. He decided to do a little bit of research in the making of Hacker’s List. Just before the website went live, Mr. Solomonson found a collection of domain registration statements for Hacker’s List from October, that mentioned Mr. Tendell as the administrator and contact person for the site.
However, Mr. Tendell’s name was removed from a revised domain registration a few weeks later. His name was replaced by David Harper, who is believed to be living in New Zealand and could not be contacted.
The older domain registration for Hacker’s List also made one think there may be a tie-in with Neighborhood Hacker, another online hackers-for-hire firm which is also based in Colorado. Mr. Tendell said he had worked with Neighborhood Hacker but was not an owner of that company.
Mr. Tendell’s participation in Hacker’s List showed how difficult it was for consumers to evaluate the legal existence of firms that say they offer legal hackers-for-hire services said Mr. Solomonson.
Mr. Solomonson also said that it is not suitable for someone like Mr. Tendell, who calls himself a “white hat hacker,” to be connected in any way with an operation that possibly making financial gains from illegal activity.
Resource : New York Times.