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Hillsboro business cyber-hacks for good

L Technology Group protects computers by breaking into them first

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - L Technology Groups Lennie Leger (left) and Nick Lockard (right) first met while working at a dog track in Florida. After starting his IT company in Beaverton, Lockard asked Leger to join him. They celebrated their grand opening July 23.Nick Lockard is a hacker with a conscious.

Unlike the evil tech wizards seen in Hollywood movies, Lockard uses his technical skills for good.

Lockard is president and co-owner of L Technology Group in downtown Hillsboro, which specializes in hacking into places they aren’t supposed to be for companies that pay good money for him to do so.

These so-called “ethical hackers,” Lockard explained, specialize in penetration tests — he is hired by companies to purposefully breaks through their security systems and then disclose how he did it.

This helps companies fix problems and find weaknesses within their security.

In technical jargon, Lockhard is known as a “white hat” hacker, someone who uses their prowess with computers for good, compared to “black hat” hackers, criminals who cause trouble online by stealing information and destroying property.

Black hat hackers are continuously updating their viruses, Lockhard said. Online tech companies such as Adobe, Java and Apple are in a constant race against these hackers to update and patch up their programs to protect against the latest and greatest viruses on the market, which primarily originate from Russia and China.

“Hackers all do the same thing,” said Lockard, who is certified as an ethical hacker. “The difference with an ethical hacker is intent.”

At L Technology Group’s office, 380 E. Main St., a TV screen mounted to a wall shows a map of computer hacks occurring all over the world.

Lines of lights bounce from Seattle to China, from Russia to Malaysia, from Colorado to New York. A scrolling feed reveals the names of victims, including Microsoft and Intel.

At first glance, it looks like a video game, but for L Tech’s three-man team of Lockard, Lennie Leger and David Edstrom the threats are entirely real — and they’re happening 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Arresting black hat hackers can be difficult, Lockard said. While unauthorized hacking is illegal, finding them can be near impossible.

A simple click on an innocuous social media site advertisement on a social media site could add any Internet user to a daisy-chained link of virus infected computers, each one expanding the difficulty of tracking down the hacker or the virus’ origin while simultaneously infecting more and more computers for the nefarious purpose.

“For companies, it’s no longer a matter of if you’re going to be breached. Now it’s a matter of when,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize the dangers. The Internet’s a dirty place. And if you don’t have the right protections, you’re going to get dirty.”

For more information on Internet protections and L Tech’s services, visit ltechnologygroup.com.

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