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Royal Holloway: The Computer Misuse Act and the characteristics of convicted hackers
In this Royal Holloway article, the authors go beyond the perpetuated stereotypes often found in media surrounding hackers by analysing the characteristics of real-life convicted hackers in the UK, who were charged under the Computer Misuse Act
Table Of Contents
- There is a large variation in skill levels among the convicted individuals who fit the loosely defined term of “hacker”, with the majority having little to no skills and are usually ex-IT employees. Only eight of the 132 cases could be defined as highly skilled, having written their own malware, controlled or rented destructive botnets, or were high-performing members of significant hacktivist groups.
- The main motivation of convicted hackers across all skill levels was money, followed by ego-centric reasons for all except the low-skilled convicts, whose second-highest motivation was revenge.
- The vast majority of the 132 convicted hackers were male (only 3 of the 132 identified as female), with ages averaging between 23 and 35 years old; around a third of hackers were known in some way to their victims.