Heartbleed was a real heartbreaker for the world of online security this past week. The software vulnerability in OpenSSL—a security protocol used by a wide range of popular websites—has everyone wondering what can be done to protect their data. While tech experts (and cartoonists!) do a great job of explaining how Heartbleed happened, we can turn to the social science to ask why people take advantage of these software bugs and what we might do to change their minds.

Market forces matter for stolen data, but hackers also develop rich subcultures which offer social status when members find new and better ways to break in.
New experimental research shows hackers invest a lot of effort in their work, so it is hard to stop them once they infiltrate a system. However, putting warnings in computer systems might make them leave faster and take less with them.