Hacking into anyone’s emails or website is a scary business.
But for Huddersfield IT expert Richard De Vere it is his business.
The IT engineer was expelled from school at 13 but now hacks into systems for both big companies and small firms to help them improve their security, showing them how easy is it to access their information – and even take down a business.
Richard, 31, has hidden inside cupboards and even sneaked into a Premier League football ground underneath a player’s Range Rover. And no, it wasn’t Huddersfield Town.
“It does sound a bit James Bond when I tell people what I do,” he said. “But a lot of it is very basic and mundane.
“I carry out attacks on companies so they can see how susceptible they are.”
The attacks can be anything from sending emails – known as ‘phishing’ – pretending to be from the systems companies use tricking them into giving login details, to even turning up at buildings pretending to be a handyman and asking for the WiFi password.
Dad-of-one Richard, who grew up in Golcar and now lives in Brighouse, has worked for firms from high street banks, football clubs, and even a zoo.
He said: “We go out to companies, find out about who works for them and look at their employees. So, for example, I can search all employees’ emails and build up a portfolio of them.
“We also do telephone attacks where someone will ring offices pretending to be other people like delivery companies and try and manipulate them into doing stuff like clicking links and opening documents.
“I sometimes send phishing emails to companies and we really try to be criminals and get people to download stuff, which in real life could contain malware.
“All this is about making people aware and getting them on board with the tactics cyber criminals use.”
Richard has been running his own company, The AntiSocial Engineer, for nearly three years but admits he’s always been “a bit of a geek.”
Among some of the crazy things he’s done include hiding in cupboards and smuggling a replica device into a football ground by hiding under a player’s Range Rover in a bid to find out confidential club secrets,
He said the jobs were scary the first few times, but that now it’s a straightforward task which has made him realise how easily and confidently businesses could be targeted.