Most security experts and even CEOs share at least one opinion of hackers – they’ve taught us a lot. Unfortunately, most of the lessons have been harsh and expensive, costing some companies hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and some CEOs their jobs.
But apart from the security lessons, we wondered what else we could learn from this varied group of rebels and criminals who seem to have few problems breaking into some of the world’s biggest companies.
What stood out from a study of nearly 30 years of hacking and hackers were the surprising number of personalities and motivations of hackers that very closely mirrored those of great leaders.
Could there be a parallel worth exploring? Are hackers in reality great potential leaders who ended up on the wrong side of town, the tracks and the law, or who deliberately chose a different path where their leadership skills would give them a faster and more rewarding payoff?
In fact, we identified nearly 50 traits that hackers share with leaders. Not all hackers, and not all leaders. But far more common traits that you might imagine.
In this unique and original presentation, we’ll look at just the Top 10 characteristics most hackers have in common with most leaders, how you can apply them to your own career, and maybe help you spot the next black hat hack before it’s too late.
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In the U.S., we have two kinds of powerful, successful business leaders. We have people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who are the most sophisticated of electronic technicians and programmers. Then we have others, like the C.E.O.’s of AT&T or General Electric, who are extremely good in their area but also know when to go to others for expertise and how to build powerful organizations by using those others. Gonzalez fits into that second category. Steve Heymann, Assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Albert Gonzalez and the Shadowcrew hacking group. (speaking to the New York Times)
I always think hacking is a little bit of a superpower. ... You can see through everyone's personal lives. ... The fact you can manipulate people because you can hack them and learn everything about their personal lives — that's an immense amount of power. Sam Esmail, creator of Mr. Robot
It was amazing. I saw finally I was able to do something that contributed to society regardless if I was at home in the Lower East Side, in the projects, behind a computer. Hector Monsegur, the Anonymous hacking group.
My primary goal of hacking was the intellectual curiosity, the seduction of adventure. Kevin Mitnick
Everything about Mark Zuckerberg is pure hacker. Hackers don't take realities of the world for granted; they seek to break and rebuild what they don't like. They seek to outsmart the world. Sarah Lacy, Editor In Chief, Pando.com
Former Hackers Who Went On To Better Things
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker (Napster), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Jan Koum (WhatsApp)