How 'white hat' hackers work

ABC News’ Pierre Thomas takes an inside look at how cyberattacks work as ransomware attacks are on the rise and companies try to protect themselves.
2:25 | 06/10/21

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Transcript for How 'white hat' hackers work
We turn to the fight against cybercrime with ransomware attacks on the rise. Many companies are going on the offensive and hiring hackers to test their security. Chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas got an inside look at how it works. Good morning, Pierre. Reporter: George, good morning. We've been on the front lines of an unseen war. There, of course, are bad hackers and turns out there are good hackers too. So we just kicked the device off the wi-fi from that we might be able to get a password to get on their wi-fi network. Reporter: Brian and Jonathan are cybermercenary, hackers for hire known as a red team. Good guys hired by private companies and governments to hack them before the bad guys get the chance. Ransomware alone, our economy suffered more than $350 million in ransomware payments this year. Reporter: May 7th, colonial pipeline, the largest fuel conduit in the U.S. Discovers they can no longer access critical data. It's called ransomware and it's used as a weapon all over the world by underground cybercartels, illegal hackers reaching into systems. There are two types of companies out there. Those that know they've been hacked and those that don't yet know. Reporter: Days later colonial announces they restarted operations. But we would soon learn they paid a $4.4 million ransom in Bitcoin. Red-teaming has become a key tool in the fight against cybercrime estimated to cost the world economy nearly $1 trillion in damages. All right. Shall we see what we got? Yeah. Three, two, one. Reporter: The red team's client catches them but Brian and John push forward making their way through their network implants this device called a The whole point of those pies is we either have one of our other red team members and like another place or otherselves the next morning connect back in and just start going through and taking over everything. So now we have access to all the switch ports. We got user names and passwords and can start putting those wherever they need to be and take over the network. Reporter: It's a high-tech game of cat and mouse but with enormous implications. George. You're correct. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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