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Convergence of Virus Writers and Hackers: Fact or Fantasy?

Sarah Gordon, Qingxiong Ma
Symantec Security Response
2003

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Abstract

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) is one of the most influential and popular conceptual frameworks used to predict human behavior. In this paper, the authors utilize TPB to define a methodology for examining the ethical belief systems of hackers and for deriving predictors of their behaviors. While related research has been carried out on the psychology of virus writers, research on hackers has not been as well-covered. Thus, these findings, when compared and contrasted with empirical research on virus writers, offer the reader the first scientifically modeled insight on the psychological convergence (or lack thereof) in the communities. The analysis of these results will eventually allow comparison between the two subject groups, focusing on cognitive factors such as personal obligation, social pressure, and self-control. Findings will consider the expected effectiveness of varied deterrent and educational techniques, as well as offer insight for public policy, legislation, and educational efforts.

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