Inhibitors of Two Illegal Behaviors: Hacking and Shoplifting

Inhibitors of Two Illegal Behaviors: Hacking and Shoplifting

Lixuan Zhang (College of Charleston, USA), Randall Young (University of North Texas, USA) and Victor Prybutok (University of North Texas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-945-8.ch113
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Abstract

The means by which the United States justice system attempts to control illegal hacking are practiced under the assumption that illegal hacking is like any other illegal crime. This article evaluates this assumption by comparing illegal hacking to shoplifting. Three inhibitors of two illegal behaviors are examined: informal sanction, punishment severity, and punishment certainty. A survey of 136 undergraduate students attending a university and 54 illegal hackers attending the Defcon conference in 2003 was conducted. The results show that both groups perceive a higher level of punishment severity but a lower level of informal sanction for hacking than for shoplifting. The findings show that hackers perceive a lower level of punishment certainty for hacking than for shoplifting but that students perceive a higher level of punishment certainty for hacking than for shoplifting. The results add to the stream of information security research and provide significant implications for law makers and educators aiming to combat hacking.

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