We typically think of hackers as those who steal your identity, hack your bank account, or disrupt services — just because they can. But in some cases, these internet gurus step up to help society and right wrongs.. Meet Chris Hadnagy, a so-called “ethical hacker,” who created an organization called the Innocent Lives Foundation. This foundation of hackers is working towards one common goal — unmasking child predators.
[Scroll Down For Video]
“Our goal is to locate people who produce and trade [child pornography],” Hadnagy said. “Finding child pornography is sadly simplistic in itself on the open and dark web. We are trying to locate the people who are producing it. If we can get rid of the producers, and unmask them, then we can minimize the trading of it.”
Hadnagy has worked as an IT technician for more than twenty years, but he is also a family man with two children. Early on Hadnagy found that his work in IT put him in contact with some individuals who exploit children. Instead of looking the other way and simply earning his paycheck for his computer services, the 44-year-old went directly to the cops.
According to CNN, Hadnagy is using legal hacking techniques as he and other hackers zero in on a suspected child predators. Hadnagy says his organization is working on ten cases right now involving six law enforcement agencies.
Hadnagy is considered a leader in the “white hat” hacker community, and he says his foundation has limitless abilities in locating and identifying the bad guys, according to the ILF website. Hadnagy recently found a site with over 51,000 nude images of children. He reported the site and was able to identify the users to the FBI.
His team tracks the user who posted the images and matches it to their real identities using data from open-source intelligence. In laymen’s terms, the open-source allows them to connect the dots between the real identity and a fake identity and username.
Hadnagy has a small team currently, but he is always looking for new recruits to help in the effort of ending child pornography.
For those who are not computer savvy enough to hack accounts for ILF, you can support Hadnagy’s foundation by donating money and data.
Doing this kind of work can take a toll on those involved, but Hadnagy says he has no regrets. “The ability to work on a couple cases where the end result is imprisonment and [protecting] children is an eye-opening experience.”
Below is a video of social engineering hacking.