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More than Money: 5 Hacker Motivations You Must Take Seriously

Without a doubt, the primary motivation for hackers is money. But the pursuit of the almighty dollar is hardly the only reason a skilled hacker might be tempted to break into your system. In fact, if you round up all of the major cyberattacks since 2016, from the Panama Papers to the leak of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, many of them were motivated not by financial gain, but rather vigilantism and social justice.

The point is this: even if your computer system lacks the trove of customer financial data that many hackers covet, that’s not an excuse to take your cybersecurity any less seriously. All it takes is one bored, semi-competent hacker to break into your system and cause a volcanic problem.

Here are five reasons a hacker might be motivated to target your business.

Money: The type of hacker motivation that keeps CTOs up and night, financially driven cybercriminals make a living stealing credit cards, personal information and other data. Whether the hacker uses the stolen information himself or sells it on the dark net for a hefty payday is immaterial to the victim.

According to Visual Capitalist, money is the primary motivator for attacks on businesses in nearly every space, from retail to healthcare. But it’s not just businesses that are in the crosshairs. Who can forget the infamous WannaCry attack, in which millions of everyday Internet users around the world had to pay a ransom to regain access to their computers? As long as people use the Internet, hackers will be out for their money.

Hacktivism: While most hackers are out for money, others are out for reasons far more personal. These hackers are affectionately known as hacktivists. We saw many examples of hacktivism during the 2016 presidential election, when hackers launched a number of attacks designed to expose injustice and hurt their political adversaries. The website GovTech.com summed it up best in an article titled 2016: The Year Hackers Stole the Show — With a Cause.

“From Clinton campaign emails revealed by WikiLeaks to DDoS attacks against governments, banks and other corporations, the hacktivist corner of the Net never slept in 2016.”

Hacktivism, though, is more than just an instrument used to influence elections; it’s also used to expose social injustice and promote personal agendas. The most famous hacktivist group, Anonymous, is known for its protest-fueled DDOS attacks on government agencies, the Church of Scientology and other victims with whom it shares ideological differences.

The Challenge: Hacking for the thrill of it? Indeed, it’s a thing. While some people like to spend their free time playing sports or video games, others prefer to breach complicated security systems. They’re drawn to the challenge and are intoxicated by the thrill of penetrating a so-called impenetrable system. Some might call them white hat hackers, since their intent is not malicious. But you’d still be wise not to let them through the door.

Vengeance: Sometimes in business you just upset the wrong person. According to Visual Capitalist, anger motivates 20 percent of cyberattacks. Spiteful hackers may try to exact revenge on its victims by defacing their website, installing viruses, leaking personal data or editing content in an embarrassing way. Many of these attacks come from script kiddies, a term that refers to amateur, unskilled hackers who use existing computer scripts or code to hack to attack a third party’s system.

Espionage: While it seems more like the premise of an Aaron Sorkin screenplay than a real-life threat, it’s not uncommon for corporations to hire hackers to trespass a competitor’s computer system for the purpose stealing company secrets. While most cases of corporate espionage go unreported, a 2017 study by the University of Portsmouth found that espionage via hacking costs the U.S. economy $400 billion per year.

The cybersecurity experts at BrevAll Technologies have the experience and expertise to help your business stave off all types of cyberattacks, regardless of the motivation behind them. Contact us today to learn how we can keep your computer systems safe.

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