This week the BBC reported on teenaged “hackers dragged from a world of crime to fight for the other side” at “a fairly ordinary looking cyber-security company” in southwest England. Bruce66423 shared their report: Bluescreen employs hackers the authorities have deemed worthy of a second chance, who pit their wits against some of the anonymous online criminals they used to see as brothers in arms… Bluescreen IT has a direct link with the police to find hackers in need of direction. These are young men who have been accused of serious crimes, but instead of being taken through the criminal justice system, they’ve been given a second chance. About 15 people work in the Security Operations Centre, a handful of whom have been referred to the company as hackers who aren’t malicious in nature and are deemed capable of reform…
There’s a relaxed atmosphere when you walk into the Security Operations Centre, but it’s serious work. Three monitors on the wall detail which of Bluescreen’s clients are being attacked, and how serious the threat is. The clients, mostly smaller and medium-sized businesses from around the South West, are given codenames like “Black Mamba” or “Green Starfish” – usually a colour and an animal… Bluescreen sees itself as a place to develop young people, give them a second chance, and be a haven for those with nowhere else to go. “It makes me really proud when they achieve industry-recognised qualifications,” said the company’s chief operating officer, Richard Cashmore.
A 16-year-old named Jack stole personal information from about 1,000 people. Years later, when he was 19, "the police sent five squad cars, a tech team and a riot van to his home… Another employee, Cameron, was arrested on his way to school when he was just 14 years old. “Officers from the National Crime Agency had planned the sting so that Cameron would be out of the house, and unable to destroy his hard drives in the event he heard them coming.”
As “apprentices” they start at £650 a month, reports the BBC, but “after five years of experience they could easily be earning close to £50,000 a year.”