Sign Up Uncle Sam As Your First Client

By Julie Bennett

The Wall Street Journal

May 14, 2003


Getting a Tow

Computer-forensics specialist Barry Schlossberg, 54, of Tampa, Fla., says he's "too old and too tired to go through that paper mill." Instead, he does his government work as a subcontractor to giant companies like Computer Sciences Corp., of El Segundo, Calif., that have longstanding government contracts. Such companies -- Mr. Schlossberg calls them his "grandfathers" -- provide the background checks and clearances he needs and pay him about $5,000 a day to track down hackers who have penetrated government computers.

Getting subcontractor gigs, he says, "is 90% reputation." Mr. Schlossberg, who takes in between $100,000 and $5 million a year, has no problem with self-promotion. When he cracked an Internet credit-card fraud case in 2000, he appeared on network television, telling reporters how he tracked down the young Russian who had stolen information on 300,000 credit-card accounts from CD Universe's computer system.

[Anyone in business should be weary of such claims. While $5000 a day is not unheard of, claiming to pull in "between $100,000 and $5 million a year" is suspect. If he pulls in $100k, that is less than the salary of a talented penetration tester. If he works 52 weeks, 5 days a week at $5000 a day, that is only $1,300,000 for the year, making his $5 million claim difficult to believe. In short, these are fluffy numbers to give him an air of mystery and attempt to highlight his expertise or lifestyle.]

main page ATTRITION feedback