Analyze key psychological and sociological issues related to hackers and the potential impact on individual organizations and society as a whole.Course Objective
Analyze key psychological and sociological issues related to hackers and the potential impact on individual organizations and society as a whole.
The class discusses ethical and nonethical hacker personalities and motivations, and profiling tools used by law enforcement in combating cyber threats.
Topic 1: Hacker Motivation and Threat Mitigation
Explain what psychological factors can often motivate hackers (eg, addiction, crime, greed, status, etc….), and give examples where these motivations were a factor in a cyberattack.
What can organizations do to be more proactive in identifying and mitigating hacker threats?
1. Crime and Punishment: The Psychology of Hacking in the New Millennium [2003 – older but, I believe, still relevant and a solid short introduction]
2. Understanding a Hacker’s Mind: A Psychological Insight into the Hijacking of Identities [2004 – RSA. Also still useful]
3. The Risk Propensity and Rationality of Computer Hackers [2010 ]
Topic 2: Ethical and Nonethical Hackers
As the cybersecurity field expands, the larger community discourse leads to changes in terminology. While some of our course materials may differentiate between the terms “hackers” and “crackers” as threat actors, we will use the terms “ethical hackers” and “nonethical hackers” to make the same differentiation.
How do the profiles for ethical and nonethical hackers differ? Should these psychological attributes make a difference as to the amount of, or nature of the punishment meted out to those who are caught? Why or why not?
Describe how certain factors can also motivate ethical hackers, or those who defend against cyberattacks (sometimes called cyber warriors or cyber patriots)? (eg, revenge, patriotism, fear of government abuse, pride, respect for the law, ownership, anger, retaliation….)
Background: Hacking for the Homeland: Patriotic Hackers vs. Hacktivists [2013 – abstract only.
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