Psychological Profiling of Hacking Potential

Date
2020-01-07
Authors
Gaia , Joana
Ramamurthy, Bina
Sanders, George
Sanders, Sean
Upadhyaya , Shambhu
Wang, Xunyi
Yoo, Chul
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Abstract
This paper investigates the psychological traits of individuals’ attraction to engaging in hacking behaviors (both ethical and illegal/unethical) upon entering the workforce. We examine the role of the Dark Triad, Opposition to Authority and Thrill-Seeking traits as regards the propensity of an individual to be interested in White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat hacking. A new set of scales were developed to assist in the delineation of the three hat categories. We also developed a scale to measure each subject’s perception of the probability of being apprehended for violating privacy laws. Engaging in criminal activity involves a choice where there are consequences and opportunities, and individuals perceive them differently, but they can be deterred if there is a likelihood of punishment, and the punishment is severe. The results suggest that individuals that are White Hat, Grey Hat and Black Hat hackers score high on the Machiavellian and Psychopathy scales. We also found evidence that Grey Hatters oppose authority, Black Hatters score high on the thrill-seeking dimension and White Hatters, the good guys, tend to be Narcissists. Thrill-seeking was moderately important for White Hat hacking and Black hat hacking. Opposition to Authority was important for Grey Hat hacking. Narcissism was not statistically significant in any of the models. The probability of being apprehended had a negative effect on Grey Hat and Black Hat hacking. Several suggestions will be made on what organizations can do to address insider threats.
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Keywords
Inside the Insider Threat, hackers, insider threats, psychological profiling
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