Debating the Motivating Factors for Hackers
There is no shortage to the potential motivators of hackers; however, motives can be distinguished by the various roles that hackers assume. In the reading to follow, this researcher will present an assessment of Sarah Gordon’s interview regarding various perspectives pertaining to psychological differences between cybercriminals and traditional real world criminals. Additionally, a comparison of hackers versus virus writers and the various roles of hackers will be discussed.
Lu, Polgar, Luo, & Cao (2010) hypothesized that computer security is not as much about the aspect of technology, instead it is more concerned with the mental and social science activities of the individuals who utilize computer technology. The authors supported this point of view by stating that computers only channel the transgressions of the individuals who exploit them. Xu, Hu, & Zhang (2013) attributed the upsurge of hackers to the popularity of the internet and the prevalence computer systems. The authors maintained that a notable portion of the hacking community is intelligent college-age individuals who begin hacking out of curiosity and end up exploiting their talents to commit cybercrime (Xu et al., 2013) Originally, hacking did not have a negative connotation. Deriving around the late 1950s, the expression hacker referred to an exceptionally adept programmer and convergent thinker that could formulate innovative solutions to overcome constraints of primitive computer systems (Bachmann, 2010; Lu et al., 2010).
The Role and Motivation of a Hacker
The motivation and intention of hackers is what distinguishes white hats, black hats and gray hats from each other. Xu et al. (2013) explained that white hats inform manufacturers and developers when they identify security holes so that exploits can be patched. On the other hand, black hats blatantly set out to incite damage or cybercrimes such as stealing money or sensitive data from organizations. “In between are gray hats who hack for curiosity, fun, notoriety, or self-fulfillment but usually do not intend to harm their targets” (Xu et al., 2013, p. 66).
Multiple researchers agree that hackers have a tendency to seek out intellectual challenges and enjoy the thrill of outwitting obstacles that stand in their way (Bachmann, 2010; Turgeman-Goldschmidt, 2008). In his studies, Bachmann (2010) reported that hackers, in comparison to the general public, demonstrated a considerably eminent capability of logical and critical thinking, along with a profound assurance in their au courant mindedness. Figure 1 provides an illustration of the progression of the typical criminal hacker. The figure demonstrates the correlation between the prospective destruction that a hacker poses to society over time.
Figure 1. Evolutionary path of computer hackers. (Xu et al., 2013, p. 68).
Hackers are motivated by the fact that they are rarely caught and penalized (Xu et al., 2013). ...