: : Fine, very nice dissetation. But my question is still; "What is it about causing problems for others, innocent people, that is so attractive to some?"
: Simply speaking: power.
: To have superiority over somebody else's data is to have power over them; and some people get a kick from abusing the power they have; that's as true in the computing world as it is in the physical one.
: : It's apparently a huge problem because tiger teams and samurai teams are needed to check out new programs.
: : OK, that's nice to know.
: You might want to check the news on the Bubbleboy virus which has surfaced this morning (9/11/99) - apart from the fact that it's written in Visual Basic, not Java, it's exactly the type of worm I predicted a month ago. In this case it's benign; it contains nothing actually harmful; merely annoying in that it screws with the OS registry and mails itself to everyone in your address book. But this will happen more; the knowledge is out there. We can expect some really nasty viruses to hit the 'net soon.
: : But what is it that makes a person want to screw up somebody's life? I mean, do these people get some kind of reward for doing it? Is it just a psychological thing? Isn't it really a juvenile thing to do? I don't know.
: No more juvenile than any other action based on superior power and nothing else; and those sort of actions dominate our world.
: : It's sort of like garage mechanics, unscrupoulus garage mechanics taking advantage of females who know zilch point shit about mechanics.
: Why do they do it? Because they get a return from doing it. It's the profit motive; as Gee will point out; in the case of a script kiddy, they derive "profit" from boosting their own egos; even if it's not a fiscal profit.
OK, I'll accept that. A psychological power over others and profit derived from that to their egos is their motive.
Why is this sort of thing attractive to so many people? I don't know for sure but I guess that most of these hackers are young. At least that's what the stories in newspapers seem to indicate. Is this the suburban version of ghetto thugs preying on the weaker members of their culture? There isn't much difference in principle between a hacker who screws with a persons personal info. and a thug who robs someone.
Perhaps, given the potential for real harm, a hacker is much more culpable then a street thug.