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The study reported here is part of ongoing, exploratory
work to determine how different methodologies can be used
to analyse the discussions held on forums relating to hacking.
The forums that are analysed could be described as surface
level sites where explicit criminal activity is rare, as opposed
to underground forums where this may be more common. In
doing so it seeks to reflect the experience of someone first
becoming interested in hacking; in terms of the initial online
environments they may encounter before potentially moving
onto underground cybercriminal sites. Better understanding
the social environment created by online hacking forums will
also allow for improved education and preventions strategies
that empower those new to hacking to make informed
decisions about the activity and their participation in it