Stabilized Instability. Construction of Exploits in Computer Security

Marcin Zarod, (Kozminski University. MINDS Group)


Studies of science and technology usually focused on regular academic practices, treating hybrids, paradoxes and exceptions as cases to be solved by normal science. Rather than following formalized technoscientific practices, I will focus on informal practices of hacking. In my paper, I will show how hackers and computer security experts construct vulnerabilities in computer systems. Using data from ethnograhpy of computer security tournament, I will focus on reversing approach usually taken by Actor-Network Theory. Rather than following rules, objects and actants, I will track how breach of irregularity is constructed, stabilized and transfered in different networks. In second part of my paper, I will try to show what elements of theory of infrastructure should be updated by study of exploits. Moving from Susan Leigh Star’s approach toward Moulier-Boutang’s critique of cognitive capitalism, I will discuss some differences between digital and non-digital infrastructures.