August 18, 2011, 2:10 PM — The Hacker Ethic may describe why hackers hack, but ego is what drives them to keep at it night after night.
Motivation comes from the satisfaction of having accomplished something difficult no one had done (to that site) ever before; the knowledge that you've had an impact on the world; the right to brag to buddies you'll never meet in person to compare clothes or looks or money that for one night, or one target, you were better than anyone else.
(Actually the money is a big factor too, but for the purposes of this one entry we'll assume all Right Thinking Hackers are small-town, middle-America, salt-of-the-earth iconoclastic techno-anarchists with an obsessive hatred of corporate uniformity and deeply mixed feelings about the homoerotic sub-themes in Adult Swim animation.)
In any case: counting coup requires not only hitting your targets, but bragging about it on Twitter and IRC in enough detail to let n00b5 know you're teh 5H1t and they'd better respect.
Which prompts a lot of arguments and flame wars and blanket dismissals of this kind of attack or that variety of malware and everyone calls everyone else a poser or a script kid and, in general the trash talk fills the same function that grab-assing at the bar after a rough slo-pitch doubleheader does for middle-aged suburbanites, but with a lot more acronyms and no need to leave the basement.
A new site, RankMyHack.com lists the hacks, the hackers, the methods and the victims, awarding points for big targets, hard targets and innovative exploits. Members can vote for a hacker or hack, but as time goes on the rankings will settle more on the number, variety and difficulty level of the accomplishments of each hacker under their current alias, according to s0lar, a "UK hacker and Web developer" who founded the site this summer.
"Until now when you met another hacker on an IRC or forum there was no way to indicate if that hacker had any skills whatsoever. RankMyHack.com was built to give a clear indication of a hacker's general abilities," s0Lar wrote in the About. "It also serves the purpose of tracking a hackers hacking achievements under their current alias allowing for other hackers to quickly establish the calibre of hacker they are talking to."