routine activity theory5 (RAT), social learning theory1 (SLT), and situational action theory27 (SAT).
While RAT helps explain how hacking begins, SAT explains why talented young people take the road toward computer hacking, even when presented with many alternatives, and SLT calls for attention to environments that sustain hacking behavior and subculture. However, none of these theories explains the evolution of certain critical elements in the hacker process: motivation, knowledge and skill, opportunity, moral values and judgment, and the environment.
Based on our case evidence and the literature, we developed a framework for understanding and managing hackers and hacking behavior from an evolutionary perspective. The framework’s most significant contribution is its explication of the enablers and constraints influencing hackers, providing guidance for managing the hacking epidemic by schools, universities, and throughout society. This framework calls for zero tolerance for hacking in schools and early intervention (such as through courses in computer ethics in middle and high schools, supervised competitions in defending computer security, and organizing computer security services for organizations) to strengthen the moral values of students against hacking and channel their interest in computers in a positive direction.