Young Hackers Don't Do It For Money

Posted on May 16, 2017 by ORC Editor

Young Hackers Don't Do It For Money

According to a recent study, young hackers are not motivated by money, but rather break into systems to impress their friends. The National Crime Agency interviewed 12- to 17-year-olds who had been arrested or cautioned for computer-based crimes.

The law enforcement organization found that the respondents were unlikely to be hacking for theft, fraud or harassment. According to the report, young hackers usually saw it as a “moral crusade” or were motivated by a desire to tackle technical problems and show off before friends. Apparently, most of them don’t realize the implications on business, government websites and individuals.

In the meantime, teenage hackers could profit from their skills if they avoided cybercrime, as their skills are hugely marketable. In today’s world, which sees a lack of cybersecurity and offers lucrative careers, it’s still hard to come by if you already have a criminal conviction.

For example, 18-year-old Jake Davis, a former member of the Anonymous, who was arrested 6 years ago for attacking government websites, explained that he had no desire to profit from his crimes – his goal was to challenge secrecy. In other words, these hacks were not financially motivated, but rather mostly politically motivated. He was motivated by the idea that the worldwide web was the utopian space which shouldn’t be controlled or filtered, but should be open and free instead, and anyone in the world should be able to use it.

Jake Davis served time in a young offender institution and was banned from the Internet for 2 years. However, he hadn’t lost his idealism, saying that there is still a place for that kind of idea of freedom online. Davis suggests that there were more opportunities to get involved in so-called “ethical hacking”: businesses and governments like hiring hackers as part of their bug bounty systems, which you get to hack to prevent them from being hacked. In short words, companies announce that if hackers break into their systems responsibly and notify about the holes in the systems, they will patch them up and then pay the hackers. This is a common practice today, especially for multinational corporations: for instance, Twitter has paid more than $800,000 to hackers over the last few years.


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