Hacker Hieu PC is now a cybersecurity specialist

Those who break the law should be punished accordingly. Though seeing justice being served can be satisfying, it can be just as amazing khổng lồ see a criminal redeeming himself. While most ex-prisoners take some time khổng lồ reintegrate into society, some become role models because of how they’ve turned their lives around entirely.

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That’s the story of Ngo Minh Hieu, aka Hieu PC, a 32-year-old Vietnamese hacker imprisoned for years in the US. After his release last year, Hieu received the offer to lớn work as a specialist at Vietnam’s National Cyber Security Centre.

Here’s how he turned away from his criminal past into a leader on the forefront of Vietnam’s cybersecurity efforts.

He was a notorious hacker in his late teens

Image adapted from: Thanh Nien NewsDuring his teenage years, Hieu had already mastered impressive IT skills through self-study while working as an administrator on several hacker forums. 

At 18, he was sent khổng lồ New Zealand for advanced education. While studying, he discovered a loophole in the school’s network system that made it vulnerable khổng lồ payment data breaches. When he contacted the school management about it, they didn’t take his words seriously.

Angered by their response, Hieu responded by hacking the entire system.

After realizing he could profit off his work, Hieu continued hacking other sites và stealing the personal information of credit card users. He then sold the info on TradeMe – an auction website.

However, his less than legal activities soon caught the attention of Auckland police, and he was unable lớn attain a visa renewal after his first semester ended. 

Caught the attention of authorities after making USD2,000,000

Bitter about the visa process, Hieu bade farewell lớn his school by exploiting the system’s vulnerabilities, shutting down the school’s trang web for 2 days.

After returning khổng lồ Vietnam, Hieu attended Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố University Of Science. As a force of habit, he continued hacking the school’s system for exam questions khổng lồ send khổng lồ his classmates.

From 2007 lớn 2013, Hieu made roughly USD2,000,0000 by stealing the personal info of millions of people và selling them to third parties. 

At that age, Hieu probably didn’t understand the gravity of his actions.

The personal information he sold, including that from overseas websites, included:

US social security numbers,birth dates,and addresses,

all of which could be used to lớn apply for loans, obtain medical treatments, và intercept their tax refunds in their names. Real users could face troubles such as huge debts, scarred credit records, & refusal of medical services. 

He was arrested in New Zealand, và spent 7 years in a US federal prison

Image credit: Ngo Minh Hieu

In 2013, Hieu travelled khổng lồ Guam lớn meet someone who claimed to lớn be able to provide him with a large amount of personal & financial data. Little did Hieu know that the business khuyến mãi was sent by US Secret Service investigators who had been hot on his heels for a long time.

Hieu was arrested, và stood trial 2 years later.

He was convicted of stealing the personal information of 200 million US citizens, pleading guilty lớn wire fraud, identity fraud, access device fraud, and computer fraud.

At age 25, he received 13 years’ imprisonment in a US federal prison facility.

In response to lớn his sentence, Hieu shared, “I wanted khổng lồ hang myself. My life has ended here,” reported Dustin On The Go.

Nonetheless, his sentence was reduced after he assisted US investigators in busting several cyber theft schemes.

A second chance in his homeland

Image credit: Ngo Minh Hieu

In August 2020, Hieu was released và he returned to lớn Vietnam.

Over 7 years in prison, Hieu had spent a lot of time reflecting on his past actions. His years behind bars were not in vain, as he received Bible studies, computing training, and psychology lessons. After his release, he expressed his newfound passion for using his talents to lớn help and protect people from falling prey lớn cybersecurity fraud.

Hieu’s dream came true when he received a job offer from Vietnam’s National Security Centre as an IT specialist.

At the same time, Hieu also established a Facebook page where he shares computing tips & the obstacles he had khổng lồ overcome.

Image credit: Ngo Minh HieuThe news of Hieu’s transformation circulated lượt thích wildfire on various social truyền thông platforms, with many netizens expressing their surprise and admiration.

Xem thêm: Soạn Bài Thực Hành Các Phép Tu Từ Phép Điệp Và Phép Đối (Chi Tiết)

While many are hopeful that he can use his talents to help the country’s cybersecurity system advance, some still remain cynical about his past. 

Today, his Facebook page has already garnered over 200,000 followers. 

A hacker’s journey to becoming a national IT specialist

Hacking is a crime, and people who commit it should bởi the time. However, every prisoner deserves a second chance, especially when they make efforts khổng lồ rehabilitate themselves. 

Everyone, albeit with a stained past, is capable of a change of heart and becoming a productive member of society. Before we understand the full story, we should refrain from judging & offer our support to those who wish khổng lồ turn over a new leaf, & create a better life for themselves.

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Cover image adapted from: Thanh Nien News and Ngo Minh Hieu

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