Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form. -Vladimir Nabokov

lunes, 8 de abril de 2013

Happy Hacking

File: archives/68/p68_0x07_Happy Hacking_by_anonymous author.txt ==Phrack Inc.==

Volume 0x0e, Issue 0x44, Phile #0x07 of 0x13

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|=-------------------------=[ Happy Hacking ]=---------------------------=|
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|=--------------------------=[ by Anonymous ]=---------------------------=|
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--[ 3 - The Security Industry

In recent years I've seen how many hackers join the information security industry and many of them having the illusion that hacking as their day job will bring them a great deal of happiness. After a couple of years they discover they no longer enjoy hacking, that those feelings they used to have in the old days are no longer there, and they decide to blame the hacking scene, often condemning it as "being dead".

I'll try to explain this behavior from the science of happiness point of view.

Let me start by looking at Journalism. The science of happiness has shown that people are happy in a profession where:

- "Doing good (high quality work) matches with doing well (achieving wealth and professional advancement) in the field." -

Journalism is one of those careers where doing good (making the world better by promoting democracy and free press) doesn't usually lead to rising as a journalist. Julian Assange, the chief editor of Wikileaks, is a pretty obvious example of this. By firmly believing in free press he has brought upon himself a great deal of trouble. In contrast, being manipulative and exaggerating news often leads to selling more news, which in turn allows for the sales of more ads, which correlates to doing well. But by doing so, journalists have to compromise their beliefs, which ultimately makes their happiness levels go down. Those who decide not to compromise feel angry at their profession when they see those who cheat and compromise rise high. This feeling also leads to their happiness levels to drop. Journalism is therefore one of those professions where its practitioners tend to be the most unhappy.

Hacking on the other hand doesn't suffer from this issue. In the hacking scene doing great work is often recognized and admired. Those hackers that are able to write that exploit thought to be impossible, or find that unbelievably complex vulnerability, are recognized and praised by the community. Also, many hackers tend to develop great tools which are often released as open source. The open source community shares a lot of properties with the hacking community. It is not hard to see why people enjoy developing open source projects so much. Most open source projects are community organizations lead by meritocracy; where the best programmers can quickly escalate the ranks by writing great code. Furthermore, the idea of making the code and the underlying designs widely available gives participants a feeling of fulfillment as they are not doing this for profit but to contribute to a better world. These ideals have also been an integral part of the hacking community where one of its mottos is, "Knowledge should be free, information should be free". Being part of such communities brings a wealth of happiness, and is the reason why these communities flourished without the need for any economic incentives.

Recent years however have brought the security industry closer to the hacking industry. Many hacking scene members have become security industry members once their responsibilities demanded more money (e.g. married with kids and a mortgage). For them it seemed like the right fit and the perfect job was to hack for a living.

However, the security industry does not have the same properties as the hacking or open source communities. The security industry is much more like the journalism industry.

The main difference between the hacking community and the security industry is about the consumers of the security industry. While in the hacking community the consumers are hackers themselves, in the security industry the consumers are companies and other entities that don't have the same behavior as hackers. The behavior of the security industry consumers is similar to the behavior of the consumers of journalism. This is because these companies are partially a subset of the consumers of journalism. These consumers do not judge work as hackers do; instead they are more ignorant and have a different set of criteria to judge work quality.

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