The mind of a hacker

Tuesday, 11 November 2003, 3:32 PM EST

Marc Maiffret is a hacker. Maiffret started hacking about six years ago, at age 16, when a friend at school introduced him to computers, and he got hooked on a digital-age narcotic: information. He consumed what he could about the Internet, computers, networks, and phone systems. "I wanted to learn more," says the guy whose teenage handle was "Chameleon" and whose hair color shifts from black to green to blue. Maiffret says some of his actions back then wouldn't meet with widespread approval. "When I was younger, I was up to no good," he admits.

Today, Maiffret could be considered one of the good guys. In 1998, when he was 17, Maiffret co-founded eEye Digital Security, which makes security software that has been adopted by companies such as Prudential Financial. Now he has the title of chief hacking officer, and he and his co-workers help to discover security flaws in software.

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