4 Beryllium

Why do Hackers Hack?

I guess I am not as smart as I thought I was. It seems to me that anyone with the know how to defeat, or sometimes defeat, the best security aound could make a very good living working for the "good guys." I don't condone it but I understand theft. I don't understand High-Tech vandalism. What in the world do people get out of that???????? I suppose Bill Gates could have become a heck of a hacker but he did okay anyway.

I just don't get it.

Jeff:emotion-18:

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6 Replies
7 Gold

Re: Why do Hackers Hack?

There are many reasons why hackers hack... most of which can be rolled into the categories of "power" and/or criminality.

why do people climb mount everest?   because it's there.   they see a challenge, and want to conquer it.   for some... at least initially... that may be it.   it's a personal challenge to them, they want to see if they can do it.   the "damage" inflicted may be something as innocent as them displaying a pop-up balloon shouting "SURPRISE".

Some hacking is just to be malicious... such as when they remove essential windows files, to crash your system, and make it unbootable.

there are many people who "hate"/despise/resent the power/monopoly/success of Bill Gates and Microsoft.   They want to "show them" they know better.   I'll be blunt here:   using reverse engineering --- "UNcoding" the computer code that makes up a program --- I believe it likely that just about anything as complex as Windows can be found to have "holes" in it.

Hackers, wanting to inflict the most damage with the least amount of effort, will target the most popular programs.   There was a time when Windows --- and Internet Explorer --- comprised over 90% of the "market".   That being the case, it was more "prudent" for a hacker to target these, than say, Mac OS or NetScape Navigator.   But that does NOT mean Macs (nor Firefox nor Opera) can't be attacked.    EVERYTHING is a potential target.   But it's like the gold thief who figures, why bother with a local pawn shop if he thinks he can break in to Fort Knox?

By the way, since Windows and IE are gradually holding a lesser market share, we're now seeing hackers focus their attention on other "more popular" programs.   at this point, Adobe products --- Reader/Acrobat and Flash --- are perhaps the most attacked software around.    And Oracle/Sun Java is another prime candidate.

Finally, much of it boils down to $$$.   A hacker can install a "rogue antivirus" (or other) program on your machine, that alerts to a phony infection, and demands a ransom to give you back your machine.   Or using a keylogger or other program, a hacker can "steal" your credit card (bank, or other financial institution) information, and use it to purchase whatever they want.

just a few quick thoughts... perhaps others will have more to say.

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4 Ruthenium

Re: Why do Hackers Hack?

It used to be about bragging rights, the thrill of finding the holes and vulnerabilities and exploiting them for personal satisifaction. But, as David has pointed out, it now is all about the $$$$$$. Big money. Gangs and individuals operating from Russia and Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, among other places. These people are very intelligent and sophisticated and the best we can do is try to keep up with them when it comes to detecting the malware, either before or after infection,  and getting rid of it.

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6 Gallium

Re: Why do Hackers Hack?

Leaving aside the criminal element (who follow the dictum of Willie Sutton, a notorious bank robber who supposedly* said, when asked why he robbed banks,  "because that's where the money is") for the moment:

I think notoriety within the hacker community probably plays a large part, and the sense of power that they hold over others. I suspect many get little respect in other areas of their life. (Freud would have had a field day with these subjects!) Taking on the challenge of bringing down a program from a big, powerful software  company must be a tremendous ego boost to these pathetic people.

Although revenge directed against specific targets (companies that have fired them, for example) is another motivation, I don't think most have malicious intent, and probably don't even give a passing thought to the pain they inflict on others. They don't get to witness the trouble they cause to specific individuals (unlike, say, an arsonist, who gets his jollies by viewing the specific carnage), except in the abstract, or in the headlines.

And there are those that claim that they only want to find holes in programs, to improve security.

The malware removal experts can answer this better, but my impression is that hacking for its own sake is on the wane compared to years ago, and the majority these days are about criminal theft of identity and money.


*Willie actually never said this, but never let the facts stand in the way of a good story!

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7 Gold

Re: Why do Hackers Hack?

You might find this blog-post (news article) interesting:

http://www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2010/06/23/cybercrime-forum-suspects-arrested-british-police/

 

 

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7 Thorium

Re: Why do Hackers Hack?


Hackers Aren't Only Threat to Privacy

Sophisticated hackers aren't the only ones gaining access to sensitive data on the Internet. A large amount of personal information is being left exposed or poorly protected by companies and governments.

The number of identity-theft victims in the U.S. jumped 12% to 11.1 million in 2009, according to research company Javelin Strategy & Research. Fraud cases reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is partly run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, climbed 23% to 336,655 last year.

Information that people inadvertently make public on sites like Facebook plays a role. So too do the sort of technical exploits demonstrated by the group that recently exposed a flaw in AT&T Inc.'s website.

But in many cases, finding social-security and credit-card numbers or medical records on the Internet doesn't require computer expertise. Instead, such information is accessible to anyone who knows where to look.

Complete Article:   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704122904575314703487356896.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopN...


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Not applicable

Re: Why do Hackers Hack?

It seems to me that anyone with the know how to defeat, or sometimes defeat, the best security aound could make a very good living working for the "good guys."

Many do.

 

While most people think of Hackers as computer criminals or nefarious characters out to wreak havoc on the web, we should mention that a "Hacker" can usually fall into one of three categories.

 

First, we have Black Hats, the type of Hacker mentioned in some of the posts above [the bad guys].

 

Next, we have White Hats, also referred to as Ethical Hackers [the good guys]. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_hat

 

Lastly, Grey Hats, not necessarily out to break the law, but don't mind doing so to reach their goals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_hat

 

Hacker (computing)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_%28computing%29

 

I'm certainly no expert, but my guess is that Hackers (white hat) are the ones ultimately responsible for the majority of security patches we regularly receive to keep our operating systems and programs secure, so we certainly shouldn't paint all Hackers with the one brush.

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