How Does a Computer Hacker Make Money?

by Isaiah David

Overview

Man typing

Creating Phishing Sites

Man working on computer

Hackers often make money by creating spurious websites that pose as legitimate outfits. They may create fake front pages for banks, online sellers and other businesses. They will send emails prompting people to log in for some reason, such as to verify their account. When subscribers do log in, the phishing site will learn their login information, their credit card numbers and other personal information.

Selling Personal Information

Woman on phone

The spammers can either exploit the credit card information by withdrawing cash advances or making purchases, or else sell the information to third parties who will exploit it. Often, hackers will deal in massive amounts of information, selling thousands of email addresses, credit card numbers, social security numbers and other personal information. As soon as the victims of these crimes find out about them, they alert their banks and put a stop to it. Therefore, hackers try to keep a constant stream of personal information coming in.

Hacking Home Computers

Woman frustrated at her computer

Some hackers work for spammers by creating botnets. They hack home computers with Trojan Horse viruses or computer worms and use them for various nefarious purposes. They may send spam out from the so-called zombie computers, or bombard the users with ads. They will often use infected computers to search for other computers to infect. This is all done in the name of marketing, and spammers will pay good money to expose unwitting computer users to ads.

Legitimate Jobs

Men working on computers

Many hackers are not malicious thieves, and work as computer security experts. People who enjoy the challenge of trying to break into a system but aren't interested in stealing or sabotaging it are often drawn to this field. Some hackers work as so-called Samurais, trying to break into computer systems to test their security. Some make a living by writing their own security software to keep malicious hackers out.

About the Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.