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Wipe the slate clean? No way!
Cybercriminals often regard their illegal activities as just another step in their climb up the career ladder. Many of them envision themselves as future white hats—e.g., penetration testers who search for vulnerabilities in IT infrastructures or other legitimate professionals whose services are in high demand among corporations.
But in reality those dreams never come true: big business is unwilling to recruit former hackers—doing so could damage their reputation and alienate customers. Besides, there are many examples of hackers performing their official duties while taking side jobs in their old line of business.
And here is a telling example:
Following the acquisition of Neutrino (a startup that develops transaction tracking and analysis technologies), three former Hacking Team members joined the company. Neutrino's CEO, as well as its chief research and technology officers, were previously on the Hacking Team.
Neutrino's takeover, involving the employment of such high-level officers with dubious pasts, provoked harsh criticism with users responding with the hash tag #DeleteCoinbase. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO, confirmed that the company will fire the ex-Hacking Team members.
Those who previously worked at Hacking Team will transition out of Coinbase. This was not an easy decision, but their prior work does present a conflict with our mission.
Of course, hacker services may come in handy—but that's usually true only for other people engaged in similar illegal activities.
Learning new skills is an agreeable pursuit, but applying them for illegal purposes is a risky choice that decades later may come back and bite IT professionals.
Fortunately, many people take the matter of business ethics quite seriously.