What is the psychology of a professional hacker?

The psychology of a professional hacker depends on the type of hacker.

  1. Old School Hackers: These are your 1960s style computer programmers from Stanford or MIT for whom the term ‘hacking' is a badge of honour. They're interested in lines of code and analysing systems, but what they do is not related to criminal activity. They don't have a malicious intent, though they may have a lack of concern for privacy and proprietary information because they believe the Internet was designed to be an open system.
  2. Script Kiddies or Cyber-Punks: most commonly what the media call "hackers". These are the kids, like Mafia Boy, who most frequently get caught by authorities because they brag online about their exploits. As an age group, they can be between 12 and 30 years old; they're predominantly white and male; and on average have a grade 12 education. Bored in school, very adept with computers and technology, they download scripts or hack into systems with intent to vandalise or disrupt. There is also the "wannabee" hacker phenomenon: the would-be hackers. Historical note: The wannabee phenomenon has a slightly different flavour now (1993) than it did ten or fifteen years ago. When the people who are now hackerdom's tribal elders were in larval stage, the process of becoming a hacker was largely unconscious and unaffected by models renowned in popular culture -- communities formed spontaneously around people who, as individuals, felt irresistibly drawn to do hackerly things, and what wannabees experienced was a fairly pure, skill-focused desire to become similarly wizardly. Those days of innocence are gone forever; society's adaptation to the advent of the microcomputer after 1980 included the elevation of the hacker into a new kind of folk hero, and the result is that some people now semi- consciously set out to be hackers and borrow hackish prestige by fitting the popular image of hackers. Fortunately, to do this really well, one has to actually become a wizard. Nevertheless, old-time hackers tend to share a poorly articulated disquiet about the change; among other things, it gives them mixed feelings about the effects of public compendia of lore like this one.
  3. Professional Criminals, or Crackers: These guys make a living breaking into systems and selling the information. They might get hired for corporate or government espionage. They may also have ties to organised criminal groups.
  4. Coders and Virus Writers: Not a lot of research has been done on these guys. They like to see themselves as an elite. They have a lot of programming background and write code but won't use it themselves. They have their own networks to experiment with, which they call "Zoos." They leave it to others to introduce their codes into "The Wild," or the Internet.

Hackers are not markedly different from anyone else - with the obvious exception that many commit crimes on a daily basis by hacking into computers. Lieberman says there are two definitions of hackers. A hacker is either someone who does "elegant programming" on computers and is considered positive in the public's eyes, or a hacker is someone who intrudes upon another's computer and is viewed as someone who does harm. From the information he gathered, Lieberman learned that they are neither as "weird" as the hackers depicted in the movie "Hackers," nor as destructive as the hacker in "War Games."

According to the responses to his "Motivation of Hackers" questionnaire, hackers' highest-rated motivations are "intellectual challenge" and to "learn about computers and computing."

Their lowest-rated motivations are "to break the law" and "to get to be known," according to the results.

Generally, hackers are highly intelligent, educated (college degree or self-taught), precise in their use of language, enjoy science fiction, prefer not to interact much with stupid or incompetent people, and possess the ability to mentally absorb, retain, and reference large amounts of ‘meaningless' detail, trusting to later experience to give it context and meaning.

Eric S. Raymond describes five types of things hackers can do to gain respect from other hackers:

  1. Write open-source software
  2. Help test and debug open-source software
  3. Publish useful information
  4. Help keep the infrastructure working



A professional hacker do not hack for fun but for making a living from hacking and they are good at it.

More you can find from here:

Researching the Psychology of Hackers

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