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Securing cyberspace: Identifying key actors in hacker communities

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2 Author(s)
Victor Benjamin ; Department of Management Information Systems, The University of Arizona, Tucson, 85721, USA ; Hsinchun Chen

As the computer becomes more ubiquitous throughout society, the security of networks and information technologies is a growing concern. Recent research has found hackers making use of social media platforms to form communities where sharing of knowledge and tools that enable cybercriminal activity is common. However, past studies often report only generalized community behaviors and do not scrutinize individual members; in particular, current research has yet to explore the mechanisms in which some hackers become key actors within their communities. Here we explore two major hacker communities from the United States and China in order to identify potential cues for determining key actors. The relationships between various hacker posting behaviors and reputation are observed through the use of ordinary least squares regression. Results suggest that the hackers who contribute to the cognitive advance of their community are generally considered the most reputable and trustworthy among their peers. Conversely, the tenure of hackers and their discussion quality were not significantly correlated with reputation. Results are consistent across both forums, indicating the presence of a common hacker culture that spans multiple geopolitical regions.

Note: As originally published there was an error in this document. An error in the reference information has been corrected and a new PDF file replaces the original one provided.  

Published in:

Intelligence and Security Informatics (ISI), 2012 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

11-14 June 2012