Hackers ply their trade for financial gain

Published 10 April 2006

Hackers used to be introverted, angry young men with acne who felt misunderstood and sought compensation in beating the system; many of them are still young and angry, but they have become more money-oriented in their activities

The typical image of a hacker has often been one of an introverted, misunderstood teen with a great deal of repressed anger and bad skin. Launching an attack and disabling thousands of computers appeared to compensate for the feelings of resentment and outsidedness. Analysts say that while the hacker profile remains much the same, the ways in which these individuals compensate for their feelings of inadequacy have been changing. “Hackers are now being lured by the promise of financial gains,” said Pete Lindstrom, research director at Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Spire Security, a security consulting company. More hackers are thus looking to make a profit from their illicit activities. Instead of writing malware which deletes information from thousands of users’ hard drives, a growing number of these programs are being designed to steal personal information, such as credit card and social security numbers.