Deciphering the Hacker Underground: First Quantitative Insights

Deciphering the Hacker Underground: First Quantitative Insights

Michael Bachmann (Texas Christian University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-323-2.ch112
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Abstract

The increasing dependence of modern societies, industries, and individuals on information technology and computer networks renders them ever more vulnerable to attacks on critical IT infrastructures. While the societal threat posed by malicious hackers and other types of cyber criminals has been growing significantly in the last decade, mainstream criminology has only recently begun to realize the significance of this threat. Cyber criminology is slowly emerging as a subfield of criminological study and has yet to overcome many of the problems other areas of criminological research have already mastered. Aside from substantial methodological and theoretical problems, cyber criminology currently also suffers from the scarcity of available data. As a result, scientific answers to crucial questions remain. Questions like: Who exactly are these network attackers? Why do they engage in malicious hacking activities? This chapter begins to fill this gap in the literature by examining survey data about malicious hackers, their involvement in hacking, their motivations to hack, and their hacking careers. The data for this study was collected during a large hacking convention in Washington, D.C, in February 2008. The study findings suggest that a significant motivational shift takes place over the trajectory of hackers’ careers, and that the creation of more effective countermeasures requires adjustments to our current understanding of who hackers are and why they hack.

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