Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hacker motivation: Why I do what I do

Topic - What factors motivate hackers? What can organizations do to be more proactive in identifying and mitigating hacker threats?

Hackers are driven by a desire to discover, to tinker, and to be an expert. They don’t gain expertise or discover for the primary purpose of career advancement or money, but because they want to learn what there is to know. (Harvey, 1985)

During the Human Factors module we walked through the interviews with Claire and Dalen. Claire is a solid example of a hacker, lots of hobby projects, experimenting with a variety of tools. (UMUC, 2010)

The best way to combat the hacker threat is to embrace it. Closed systems, code, and protocols result in secrets which draw the curiosity of hackers. When the hackers can dive into code they find bugs and fix them, find interesting techniques and expand on them, and build complementary tools which make the original more valuable. When hackers are confronted with closed components they dive into the binaries to reverse engineer them, identify where functionality is impeded and free it. They reverse engineer the protocols and formats to create tools to replace the closed tool, like Open Office manipulating .doc files.

Harvey, B. (1985). What is a Hacker? University of California, Berkeley Retrieved from

UMUC (2010). Human Factors. UMUC CSEC620 Module

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