Hacker, Researcher and Author.

7 Qualities of Highly Effective Hackers

When asked to write on this topic, I admit that it made me fringe just a bit. Because I don't consider myself to be a highly effective hacker. I find myself as a noob everywhere that I'm trying to learn new things, or I am frustrated with the most ridiculous "hacker" material on the web, written by school-taught programmers that follow step by step instructions out of a manual that everyone has already read. Then I thought to myself.. "That's it!" That is Number One!

Quality One- Always A N00b

Yea. You heard it, and it sounds crazy, but do you ever wonder why on the forums and comments you always see the trolls calling the weakest link a noob and picking on them.. and then THEY are revealed to be newbies also? Well guess what? I am ALWAYS in over my head, trying to learn things that are too much for me. When I go through phases where I only visit sites and forums where I already am adept at the subject or skill level, at hand, I find that not only have months gone by without me learning anything new.

I have also gotten rusty at things I was beginning to learn. So as crazy as it sounds, I believe that a highly effective hacker is always in places where he is a noob. Always learning things he had no idea of and constantly finding things that overwhelm his mind, until a week later when he is now teaching others how to do it and busy with something else he doesn't yet understand. This is the way of intellectual progress. When you see guys on these forums and blog comments, picking on newbies and boasting the same skills with nothing new, know that they are at their peak. Their time has come and gone because they have settled for what they know and are satisfied with it in an ever evolving and changing world of technology.

Quality Two- Curiosity

Do you think for a moment that the l33t ones out there, finding new exploits and breaking into systems are just following step by step guides or motivated by their job or a pay check? If so, I am sorry to rain on your parade, but an effective hacker has an obsessive curiosity. 

These personal drives will bring a person farther in skill than the need for a promotion or recognition will. "I wonder what would happen if I tried to.." "What do you suppose they keep in here.." "OMG! What if I trick it into running this as a..." These are the basic thought patterns of an effective hacker. Not just when he has a job to do. I mean always. For example when you were a kid (or even now) played a video game and found a weird glitch (not necessarily a 'cheat') that you thought was funny. "Oh wow. If I walk in this corner backward he kinda gets stuck there.. UPSIDE DOWN! LOL", "What would happen if I do that and try to jump at the same time? Oh weird! It drops my character where I'm not even supposed to be yet!". OK This is the curiosity that intrigues an effective hacker. He wants to make things work in ways they were not originally intended to.

Quality Three- Enjoys being places he doesn't belong

Hey sorry all you white-hats out there, but it's true. I won't condone trespassing, but many of the most effective hackers get serious pleasure out of being places they do not belong. I once read that everything that drives a man is a form of penetration, of inserting what he feels is himself into something he feels is not himself. I don't know about all that, but some of these guys get pleasure in the same way that a voyeur enjoys watching what he is not allowed to. They enjoy getting into places they are not supposed to be. Now I am not encouraging this behaviour, just laying out the facts. The reason these people find ways to get into things is because these fundamental, basic drives compel them to. It closes the gap of all the things he must learn in order to achieve what he wants.

Quality Four-An unbalanced lifestyle

I often find myself engorged in a project (not just computer related) and nothing else exists. If you ever see these skinny or fat guys beating at their computer at 3 in the morning with empty coke cans and full ashtrays all around until they finally call it a day.. and then it's time to go back in to work. That's them. LOL Now I am not saying that being an effective hacker means they do not have a life (though some may not). Alot of very successful people get obsessed with what they are working on and do nothing but that.. For a while. Then they go through a phase where they are obsessed with something different.

Quality Five- Likes to break things

Come on guys! We're hackers! We love to smash things apart and see what happens. Because face it, it's much easier to break something than to make it and it rewards a valuable opportunity to put it back together in a different way.

Quality Six- Well Organized

In the beginning, it's ok to have files, folders, projects, and programs littered amongst temporary directories, hard drives and OS's. But eventually that's going to be a huge problem. The most efficient hackers have definitely learned to become very well organized multitaskers. You'll see varions windows and terminals open, seperate directories for everything, that are well categorized, a task manager changing process priorities as he's bouncing from one project to the other, across his screen.

Quality Seven- Everything is Insecure until... Never.

The most efficient hackers know that all software, hardware, and access controls are man made and riddled with flaws, predictabilities, and unpredictabilities, a reflection of the creators. People. Nothing can ever be completely trusted, just as no person can be completely trusted.

About the Author

I'm Gary. Though I have many names in many places, this is my true one. I am honored to have been invited by the RHA InfoSec to create content. I can't really go all the way into my experience, suffice to say my greatest teachers have been hours upon hours of trial, effort, information and second opinions.

My skill-set is wide and varied and I am more a "Jack of all trades", rather than a specialist in any one category. I stay pretty busy with various projects (not all is computer related), but I will do my best to lend my time, effort, and knowledge. If I am busy or unable to answer any of your inquiries or handle your requests, for whatever reason, then I am sure Rafay, or Preston or any of the others can when they are able. Last but not least. I (PERSONALLY) do not want your likes, recognition, attention, traffic, or friends. Please save all of that for Rafay and the RHA Page. These guys have put this together, for you and deserve all recognition for it. Thank you.


  1. For me, the only quality of a hacker is
    "They make their way, out of the things they've got"
    May it be a piece of computer code, may it be broken bike, may it be a leaking tap, may it be jammed door, or whatever may be the situation/problem life throws on to them, they just "hack" their way out.

  2. I can tell you the things better than the things you have written

  3. awesome article specially the part empty coke cans and full ashtrays :P btw i quit smoking B|

  4. thanks for sharing the info about them. Respect!

  5. Thanks for sharing the info about them. Respect!

  6. Nice post, i need to talk with the publisher of this post please i need some help,, my skype id is "gs_sharwar"

  7. also important - HACKER NEED NOT BE A TECHIE. you can as well be a chef with curiosity, hunger to learn and create!

  8. Passion is also needed man! Hackers may not have a life! that's the point! Your post isn't much tricky & reflecting your skills too!


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