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Human Resources

InfoShot: Hacking doesn't pay

Times are pretty good for workers in the tech industry. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is the highest paid head honcho in the US, and technology professionals may be seeing demand for their skills (and therefore wages) shoot up. But it seems that crime might not pay as well when it comes to hacking.

According to a new report from Palo Alto and the Ponemon Institute, the annual salary of a hacker is just $28,744, well below a comparative wage of cyber-security professionals.

For comparison, the latest salary guide from HR consulting firm Robert Half says CIOs can make between $150,000 and more than $200,000 annually, while CSOs can expect upwards of $140,000. Other security professionals can also expect six-figure salaries, and even security researchers can earn something in the region of $70,000 (plus bug bounties), while non-security tech professionals: data scientist, software engineers, web developers and network admins can all expect at least double a hacker’s salary.

However, hackers are rarely fulltime. Although $30,000-odd barely covers the rent around Silicon Valley, they work for the equivalent of just 88 days per year, meaning their average hourly wage is almost $40/h and would be equivalent to over $80,000 for a full working year. The average hacker, according to the study, spends $1,300 on specialised tools and conducts an average of just eight attacks per year, with each successful attack yielding $14,700.

16-03-16-hacking-doesnt-pay

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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