Policing the Hackers by Hacking Them: Studying Online Deviants in IRC Chat Rooms

  • David Décary-Hétu
  • Benoit Dupont
  • Francis Fortin
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


The Internet is now an irreplaceable source of news and communication. While traditional data-gathering techniques such as surveys and interviews have proven useful in this environment, we believe that the monitoring of online communities will provide new and innovative datasets that will greatly enhance our comprehension of the criminal phenomenon in a virtual setting. This chapter describes how social researchers can tap into the Internet Chat Relay (IRC) to collect information on cyber deviants and build activity logs, social graphs and do content analysis. The research also provides an analysis of a dataset that was generated through this methodology and concludes on the limits and ethical problems that such a technique poses.


Hackers Data-gathering IRC Social networks 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Décary-Hétu
    • 1
  • Benoit Dupont
    • 2
  • Francis Fortin
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of MontrealMontrealCanada

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