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Hackers to get rankings based on exploits

The hacker world, long inaccessible to the general public, is about to open up. Enter rankmyhack.com, a Web site claiming to be the hacker community’s “first elite hacker ranking system.”

world Updated: Sep 02, 2011 01:17 IST

The hacker world, long inaccessible to the general public, is about to open up. Enter rankmyhack.com, a Web site claiming to be the hacker community’s “first elite hacker ranking system.”

If it takes off, the system could intensify the race to perform high-profile exploits, encourage a new generation of hackers to pick up the trade or raise the overall likelihood of future cyber-attacks.

The system allocates points to successful hackers based on the popularity of their chosen targets. Hacking Yahoo! earned one member 37.5 million points, propelling the code-wizard to the top of the leader-board. Hackers win more points for more complex attacks. To become ranked, a hacker must insert a certain line of text into a Web site undetected.

Rankmyhack.com brings to hacking what has lately taken the social media world by storm: gamification. Gamification aims to boost consumer engagement with a commercial brand using mechanics that include virtual awards, badges or points. Rankmyhack.com’s gamified approach could have the added effect of expanding what was once an exclusive club.

The consequences of this ratcheting effect won’t be limited to a circle of geeks. It’ll have a real impact on information security across an array of sectors.

Preventing young hackers from joining the black-hat leagues will be a tall order. Research suggests that society isn’t divided by one technological generation gap — that is, between parents and children — but that such gaps may exist even between siblings.

In Exclusive Partnership with The Washington Post. Log on to www.washingtonpost.com for more.

First Published: Sep 02, 2011 01:14 IST