Hacker Definitions in Information Systems Research

De Jarvis Oliver, Kennesaw State University
Adriane B. Randolph, Kennesaw State University


The IS research community has called for more research on hackers and their behavioral motivations. One of the reasons that research on hackers has been so limited is that there is no clear definition of what a hacker is, or who may or may not be considered a hacker. Researchers have attempted to define the term hacker, yet overall attempts to craft a definition have been inconsistent and partially complete. The purpose of this paper is to present results from an inductive, qualitative study of how the term hacker has been defined in IS literature. We reviewed the leading IS journals to identify previously-used hacker definitions. The review and analysis conducted in this paper yields a more comprehensive definition of the term hacker to help advance hacker-related IS research efforts.