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Charlie Miller weighs in on the U.S. is recruiting those once considered online outlaws.

12:32 PM, Feb 9, 2013   |    comments
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Wildwood, MO (KSDK) - What Charlie Miller can do with electronics makes him a valuable mind in the world of cyber security.

Miller is a so called 'white hat' hacker - one of the good guys of cyber space paid to think like a hacker with bad intentions.

From his home in Wildwood, his day job is top secret security for Twitter. And for the past several years his hobby has been to hack everything from iPhones to car computers - finding flaws in security for major corporations.

"I don't ever do anything illegal just because it's too risky," says Miller. "I don't ever want any chance of going to jail," he says with a chuckle.

But these days a high level hacker doesn't necessarily have to wear a 'white hat' like Miller to stay out jail. Because of ever increasing threats in cyber space hackers once considered online outlaws are now actively recruited by the U.S. Government.

In the past two years the National Security Agency added close 3,000 cyber experts to its staff with a direct appeal to hackers on its website which reads, "If you have a few, shall we say, indiscretions in your past, don't be alarmed."

But critics aren't convinced. Some worry that giving self proclaimed rule breakers access to sensitive information could backfire on the U.S. government.

Before he worked in the corporate world, Miller actually learned how to hack while working for the NSA. Ask him exactly what he did for the agency and about all he can say is he's sworn to secrecy. But he has no problem weighing in on his former employer hiring hackers.

"To me it makes sense... to get these kind of people on our side," says Miller. "If you want to have an attack capability then you have to hire the kind of people who know how to do that. So, it's not a surprise they're doing that now."

And Miller isn't worried about any rogue recruits given the background screening he had to pass before he was hired.

"Almost all the guys who know how to do this kind of stuff at some time have done something stupid, so it's going to be hard to hire those guys," says Miller.

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