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>Examining the Explanatory Factors of Malicious Hacking Behaviors

Examining the Explanatory Factors of Malicious Hacking Behaviors

In the last few years, malicious hacking is one of the fastest-growing crimes, causing an unpredictable impact on society. Therefore, the present research aims to characterize five malicious hacking behaviors and understand which features are linked to the practice of such actions. Data were collected through an online survey administered to a Portuguese sample (n=680, 61.1% male) with an average age of 28 years. Overall, 60.4% of the participants reported having committed at least one malicious hacking behavior in their lifetime. Regarding sociodemographic variables, it was found that malicious hacking is more prevalent in people who are: male; younger; in a romantic relationship; less educated; and with higher levels of scientific knowledge. As for personal features, individuals who have lower levels of self-control and pro-criminal definitions are about twice as likely to commit malicious hacking. Regarding social characteristics, those who have more friends who engage in malicious hacking behaviors are 7 times more likely to commit these acts. The overall model is significant (p<0.01) and can explain about 54% of malicious hacking. The presentation will focus on the Malicious Hacking issue – a cybercrime that has grown exponentially in the last few years, but little is known about these individuals. So, who are the malicious hackers anyway? This topic has been the target of some international criminological investigations.
However, there is no empirical research on this topic in the Portuguese context, therefore a quantitative study was conducted with the main goal off:
i) understanding these behaviors;
ii) their prevalence in the Portuguese population;
iii) and if it is possible to establish a common profile of the malicious hacker.

The order of the sections in this presentation would be the following:
1) reference to the subjects to be addressed;
2) short introduction to the issue (e.g., definition of malicious hacking; ask some questions to the participants to make the discussion more dynamic);
3) empirical study characteristics (e.g., aims; methodology; description of sociodemographic, personal and social variables; measurement of the variables);
4) results that were obtained (e.g., prevalence of five malicious hacking behaviors; statistical and practical relationship between variables);
5) conclusion about the empirical study;
6) some actions to be taken into consideration in the cybersecurity field.

The intention of this presentation is:
i) to show the audience another side of the hacking issue, more intimate with the subject that engages in malicious hacking behavior;
ii) to make the audience consider whether the results that are presented are similar or divergent from the reality in which they are involved;
iii) to provoke in the participants critical thinking about the topic and the results that are shown.

The presentation will be supported by a physical representation of the information, namely a PowerPoint file.

About the Speaker

Carolina Roque has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the Faculty of Law of the University of Porto (FDUP) having completed an academic internship at the Victim Support Office of Porto. At the moment is in the 2nd year of the Master’s Degree in Criminology at the same faculty, and is conducting a quantitative empirical study through the master’s dissertation “Malicious Hacking: Analysis of the role of the General Theory of Crime and the Social Learning Theory in explaining behaviors”. Developing research and presentations in the areas of cybercrime, cybersecurity, hacking, criminological theories and empirical testing.