Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

What else makes hackers tick?

What else makes hackers tick?

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In my previous post, which is taken from a series that Stratfor has run recently, we looked at some of the motivations of hackers.  Let's take a look at some more.

Altruism

The tenets of altruism vary greatly, depending on the person subscribing to it, but often they are based on an individual’s beliefs regarding the Internet and are often associated with what are considered positive actions intended to serve a perceived public good. These tenets can include the free flow of information, security preservation and user protection. In some ways, altruism can be understood as a variation of the Hacker Ethic with a benevolent bent. But because it all comes down to a personal perception and world view, “altruistic” hackers may sometimes perform actions that seem quite malicious to others (e.g., shutting down Web sites that are believed to be blocking the free flow of information).

Hackers who believe in altruism either aren't fans of Ayn Rand or haven't read anything by Ayn Rand.

Hacktivism

Hacktivism promotes the use of hacking to accomplish political goals or advance political ideologies. Depending on the campaign, these actions may involve both white-hat hackers and black-hat hackers and can include Web site defacement, redirects, DoS attacks, virtual sit-ins and electronic sabotage. Many hacktivist actions often fall under the media radar but their political, economic, military and public impact can be significant.

An example of this is way back in the 1990's when some hackers broke into the CIA web site and changed the name on the main site to the "Central Stupidity Agency." I actually don't know if this actually happened because I never personally verified it... but I think it falls under the hacktivism mantle.

Nationalism

Although a rare hacker ideology, nationalism can envelop large portions of the community given the right cause or circumstance. By their very nature, hackers are individualists who rarely pledge allegiance to other hackers or groups, let alone countries. This is partially due to the fact that the Internet itself and the hacker community it supports have their own cultural elements — indeed, some of the other motivations discussed above often supersede or transcend national identity. There are situations, however, when hackers can be motivated to act in what they perceive to be the best interests of their respective nations.

Those are some of the motivations of hackers.  One day maybe I'll do a series on the motivations of spammers, but I think I can sum it up in one word: greed. 

Those types of spammers would have no disagreement with Gordon Gecko who asserted that "Greed is good."

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