CodeFellas - a mafia hacker tells his story

Thursday, 20 November 2003, 4:45 PM EST

My job is a lot like managing any other venture. I make sure that people show up on time, that bills get paid, and that the customers and employees are reasonably happy.

But that's not all I do. I'm tech support for the mob. From the moment I started this gig, I realized just how behind this gang is when it comes to technology. Forget about the paperless office. These guys are buried in pulp. But when they want to revamp their systems, it's not like they can call McKinsey for advice. That's where I come in.

I'm building a secure, online, peer-to-peer, encrypted, redundant bet-processing system with an offshore data warehouse. Ordinary companies would hire a team to put this together; I'm working with one guy. Getting the system up and running is a three-step process. First, eliminate all those incriminating little pieces of paper. Instead of writing down a wager, the operator will enter the bet onto an online form. The whole transaction will be encrypted by a browser and sent over the Net to a server running in an undisclosed country where the laws are more liberal than they are in the US. Essentially, the system acts as a market maker, matching up people who want to take different sides of a sports bet.

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