Most of my work really picked up since the advent of the home computer and the public internet. While we had used the “internet” for data prior to its public use, it really took off since the mid 80’s.
Our jobs used to be rooting around in garbage cans, mail box raids, and looking through desks. Now we can do most of our work through the computer and the internet. People believe the internet and their security measures are secure but we know better. Breaking a password is simply a manner of running a utility program to test the system and eventually find the password. The number of people who believe “1 2 3 4 5” is a good password is really sad.
Companies are sometimes no better. They hire inexperienced IT personnel and buy off the shelf security systems not realizing there are people like us out here. Even within the best security systems people are the weakest link. There are so many passwords to remember and companies make them change them so often that most people write them down. Sure they hide them or stick them in files, but that defeats the original purpose and makes my job all that much easier. People sit in their glass walled offices in high-rises, happily typing their passwords in full view of the windows believe no one can tell what they are doing. Haven’t they seen those pictures of Google maps of their houses taken from a satellite 100’s of miles in the sky? Do they really believe we can’t see in windows? Silly rabbits.
I get most of my assignments through email or by visiting special sites. Code words buried within them provide the direction to go in. Of course it has to be very small to keep the questions down, often a word or phrase it all it takes to send us off on a chase. Call it Twitter light. A couple of words such as “Philips”, “sonic”, and “q” sent me off to discover the science behind a new use of an old technology and the ability to use it for military applications. Could we have just asked the company? There is an old saying that if you want to keep a secret between two people, one of them has to die. Imagine what a company would do.