A former hacker from west Kentucky once involved in an international malware forum that got shut down by the FBI is encouraging students in the region to use their IT skills for good.
Ryan Green of Livingston County was one of 70 people charged in a global takedown of Darkode in 2015. The forum sold personal information, traded viruses and sometimes sold narcotics. Green spent two and half years working with the FBI as part of a plea bargain. He recently spoke with high school students at a technology conference at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
“It’s a very tempting place and it gives you a sense of empowerment and it lets you be who you are... but at the end of the day it’s not worth it because you have so much potential to do better in a legal setting,” said Green.
Green described his two and a half years working for the FBI as 'very depressing'. He says he spent most of his time alone.
“I regret some of the actions the way that they turned out but at the same time I own every one of them because they made me who I am today and taught me lots of life lessons and put me on a better path to hopefully helping other kids,” said Green.
Green encouraged students to develop soft skills as a means to better express themselves in everyday life and not just behind a computer screen. Green is now President and owner of Rygre Digital Marketing, a marketing firm specializing in Search Engine Optimization.