Les liens faibles du crime en ligne: écologie de la méfiance au sein de deux communautés de hackers malveillants

The trust dilemma that online offenders face is often underestimated in studies on the transformations of criminality that the digital revolution triggered. However, in a context where various forms of technical and organizational expertise are required to carry out lucrative projects, relations of trust play a decisive role in excluding partners who do not seem reliable and in stabilizing collaborations to improve criminal performance. Through two case studies on a network of hackers dismantled in Quebec in 2008, and the largest computer hacking discussion forum observed for 27 months from 2009 to 2011, this article illustrates the concrete challenges faced by cybercriminals in attributing trust to peers and in maintaining it when the latter have many reasons to defect without the risk of reprisal. The author analyses the fragile and fleeting nature of relations of trust and the role of transgressive cultural norms in preventing hacker communities from fully taking advantage of automated reputational management tools.

This content has been updated on March 15, 2017 at 18 h 30 min.