Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ethics of a Hacker

Why Hackers Break into Systems?

Before turning to the ethics of hackers, it is important to understand why hackers break into systems. From what I have learned, most hackers do it for the challenge, thrill, and social fun. Although the stereotype image of a hacker is someone who is socially inept and avoids people in favor of computers, hackers are more likely to be in it for the social aspects. They like to interact with others on bulletin boards, through electronic mail, and in person. They share stories, gossip, opinions, and information; work on projects together; teach younger hackers; and get together for conferences and socializing. They are curious about the vast network of systems, and they want to explore it. They hear about a computer at a place like Los Alamos National Labs, and they want to find out what it does, what it’s used for, and who uses it. By sharing the secrets they learn, hackers also gain recognition from their peers and entry into exclusive hacker groups. Since their actions are illegal, hackers may also enjoy the thrill of doing something that they are not supposed to do without being caught.

There is nothing particularly unusual about hacker’ motives. Curiosity, adventure, and the desire to be appreciated and part of a group is fundamental to all human beings. Moreover, there are powerful motives behind the attraction to learning secrets, including the desire to have control, to feel superior, and to achieve intimacy with those with whom the secrets are shared. They allow one to be an insider rather than an outsider, to be accepted by a group, and to cross forbidden boundaries. (Bok 1983)

Most hackers do not break into systems for profit or sabotage. Although some do, I will restrict my discussion to those that do not, since my personal experiences have been with hackers who consider these activities to be wrong.

No comments: