Profiling Hackers - Deepstash
Profiling Hackers

Profiling Hackers

Raoul Chiesa, Stefania Ducci, Silvio Ciappi

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The List Of Motives (1)

Often hackers can’t explain why they do hacking. Their motives can be manifold and not mutually exclusive. Here is a list of the main ones:

  • Intellectual curiosity, so as to learn and gain knowledge.
  • Love of technology.
  • To prove they are smart and intelligent.
  • For fun.
  • Using a computer the usual way is boring. (“Anyone can do that, so how can I distinguish myself from others? Easy, using it in an unconventional way.”)
  • They love to solve problems.
  • To improve computers, make them more powerful and user friendly.
  • To increase the security l evel o f networks and co mputer systems.


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The List Of Motives (2)

  • To defend civil liberties in cyberspace and make information free and accessible to everyone, defeating communication and knowledge monopolies.
  • To offer a service, often sharing accesses they believe ought to be free (this is the struggle a gainst telecommunication monopolies).
  • To safeguard their own and everyone else’s privacy from intrusions by the authorities.
  • Antiestablishment attitudes (in particular military and industrial), so the individual can triumph over the community.


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The List Of Motives (3)

  • Rebelliousness, challenging the authorities (not only police and government agencies but also system administrators, teachers, parents, and adults in general) so they can show their “hacker power” and feel superior.
  • A sense of adventure, the adrenalin rush, the thrill of doing something forbidden, or the fact of owning a system, of “defeating” a PC by making it do one’s bidding.
  • Bored by routine.
  • Romanticism, tradition, the “myth;” in other words, because it’s “cool.”
  • To attract media attention in the hope of becoming famous.
  • For money.
  • Anger and frustration.
  • Political reasons.


9 reads

The List Of Motives (4)

  • Attracted by the camaraderie in the hacker community.
  • To escape a conflicting family environment and alienating social reality.
  • Professional reasons (computer security experts, cyber-warriors, industrial spies, government agents, and military hackers).


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4 Generations

We mustn’t forget that motives change with the generations. First-generation hackers (at the end of the 1970s) were fired up by the thirst for knowledge.

The second (first half of the 1980s) were impelled by curiosity, joined with the thirst for knowledge and the fact that many operating systems could only become familiar by “penetrating“ them. Later, toward the second half of the 1980s, hacking became more wide-spread, partly because by now it was a fashion, a fad.


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3rd Generation

The third generation (1990s) simply wanted to do hacking, which implied wanting to learn and get to know something new, with the intention to violate computer systems and exchange information in the underground community. In this phase, the first hacker groups came on the scene, e-zine hackers arose, and BBSs started developing.


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4th Generation

The fourth and last generation (of the year 2000) is impelled by anger. Often, they don’t have many technical skills but consider being a hacker fashionable; they don’t know or aren’t interested in the history, the culture, or the ethics of phreaking and hacking. Here hacking is mixed with politics and becomes cyber hacktivism.


8 reads



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