Why Do Hackers Hack?

As a business owner concerned with the protection of your company, this question may have crossed your mind. What do hackers gain from doing damage? Is it just about money? Or ego?

Some hackers focus only on gaining notoriety or defeating computer systems. Some even have criminal intentions. Hackers also can get addicted to a way-of-life from the knowledge and self-esteem gained from successful hacking. There are also hackers who just aim to make your life miserable, whereas others just want to be seen/heard. Some common reasons for hacking include bragging rights, revenge or blackmail, curiosity or boredom, challenge, sabotage, theft for financial gain and corporate espionage.

While this post is strictly focused on the intention of malicious hackers, it’s important to note that not all hackers are bad. Take a moment to learn the differences in the three main types of hackers:

Types of Hackers

White Hat Hackers

White hats are dedicated tech-savvies or cybersecurity experts who seek to find vulnerabilities without having any malicious intent. Their goal is to improve website security for all users or coders working in an open-source environment.

Black Hat Hackers

Opposite of white hat, black hat hackers have full malicious intent and are the epitome of what internet users fear in a cybercriminal. Personal gain is the name of the game for these hackers.

Black hat hackers can inflict major damage on both individual computer users and large organizations by stealing personal financial information, compromising the security of major systems, or shutting down or altering the function of websites and networks

Fun fact: The term “black hat hacker” is derived from old Western movies, in which the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats.

Grey Hat Hackers

As in life, there are grey areas that are neither black nor white. Grey hats exploit networks and computer systems in the way that black hats do, but do so without any malicious intent, disclosing all loopholes and vulnerabilities to law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies.

Often, grey hat hackers will look for vulnerabilities in a system without the owner’s permission or knowledge. If issues are found, they will report them to the owner, sometimes requesting a small fee to fix the issue. 

Why Hackers Hack

To Steal/Leak Information

One of the most common reasons for hackers to hack is to steal or leak information. This could be data and information about your customers, your internal employees or even private data specific to your business. These are cases where hackers typically go after big targets to get the most attention.

A lot of times, hackers also steal information to assume your personal identity and then use it for monetary advantage like transferring money, taking a loan, etc. Such incidents have increased after Internet banking and mobile banking have started to become more popular. With the growth of smartphones and mobile devices, the potential for monetary gain through hacking has also increased.

Many big businesses have fallen prey to this – Sony, Target, Yahoo, eBay, Home Depot, Adobe, to just name a few. Even though there has been a lot of media attention about all the above companies being hacked, most businesses still believe this won’t happen to them. By not being proactive about security, you are only putting your data at risk.

To Disrupt Services

At the end of the day, hackers just love to take something down. Hackers have successfully taken down many services by creating bots that bombard a server with traffic, thus, leading to a crash. It is known as a DoS (Denial of Service) attack and can put a company’s website out of service for a while. These days, there’s also DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks that use multiple infected systems to take down a single major system leading to a DoS.

Hackers will also infect a large network by injecting malicious software onto a computer through email, or other ways that will lead to a chain reaction that affects the entire network. Server disruption attacks usually have their own personal motive. Mainly, it is to render a service or website useless. Sometimes it can also be to make a point.

To Steal Money

I bet you knew this one would be on the list!  Many businesses reach out to more trustworthy and professional IT services at the stage when they have already been hacked and a hacker is demanding money. Hackers not only hack businesses and ask for ransom but they also try hacking into regular user accounts and try to take advantage of things like online banking, online retail, etc. where financial transactions are involved.

For Political Motives (Hacktivism)

Many hackers are also driven by a specific purpose. Sometimes, this comes out only when they get caught. Some of them aim to be idealists and take it upon themselves to expose injustice, some have political motives and some target the government. A major example is a hacktivist group called Anonymous who is popular around the world for challenging and taking down many governments. These hackers can target religious groups, governments, movements, etc. to promote a particular agenda.

Conclusion

Hackers are not going away anytime soon. Their motivations include executing their malicious agenda, making a statement or looking for new ways to obtain monetary and personal gain.

It is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of these threats and take necessary precautionary measures to ensure you and your company’s sensitive information is safe.

Here at Elevated Technologies, we offer a range of managed services to help safeguard your business so that you can focus on the success of your company. When you partner with us, we work ‘round the clock to defend your network and devices against malicious threats and abnormal user behavior. Our Security Operations Center (SOC) will work continuously to not only detect but to stop cyber intrusions. Let us worry about your IT so you can worry about your business!

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