The growth of the Internet and it’s accessibility introduced new possibilities and has helped many businesses, but it also has brought some downsides to connecting with others. Most companies rely on the Internet to track their financials, order and maintain inventory, conduct marketing, connect with customers, engage in social media, and perform other operations. Anyone who uses a device connected to the Internet can be vulnerable to the threats that computer hackers pose. These cyber criminals typically use phishing emails, spam emails or instant messages, and fake websites to deliver dangerous malware to your computer and compromise your security. Every business is under constant threat from a multitude of sources. From the biggest companies in the world down to the small local business, no company is 100% safe from getting hacked. Unfortunately, as technology evolves, the risk of cyber-attacks also increases.
But have you ever wondered what motivates cyber criminals?
The motivations for cyber criminals can be quite simple. The two that make up the huge majority are money and information. Although, a closer look reveals that money may not be the only goal of cybercrime. Financial gain is definitely a big motivator but definitely not the only one. Let’s now discuss the main reasons why cyber criminals commit these crimes:
Money – Financial gain can motivate many types of cyber crimes such as ransomware, phishing, or data theft. The financial gain attached to these types of cyber crimes is either extorting money from victims directly, whether individuals or through an organization. Ransomware is a type of malicious software hackers use to block users from accessing your own or company data. Ransomware can enter a network in various ways; the most popular is a download via a spam email attachment or considered phishing emails. The download then launches the ransomware program that attacks the system.
Government – Cybercrime is increasingly being used as a tool to achieve a political goal. This can take the form of hacking or shutting down a country’s power supply, manipulating elections, or distributing ransomware. These actions pose a threat to all organizations, although they are not the direct target. Typical targets include public administration, defence, energy, and utilities, intending to gain information or to disrupt or damage operations.
Competition – Organizations sometimes employ hackers to complete testing of their own security but just as often they are used for corporate espionage. Financially motivated, these hackers attack to take down their main competition. Some of these attacks are designed to prevent competitors from participating in major events, while others target the complete shutdown of online businesses for months. The idea of this type of attack is to cause disruption and encourage competitors’ customers to come to their business instead.
Cyberwarfare – Cyberwarfare refers to the use of digital attacks (like computer viruses and hacking) by one country to disrupt the computer systems of another. The main reason for this is to aim at creating damage, death, and destruction. Cyberwarfare can take many forms, but all of them involve either the destabilization or destruction of critical systems. The objective is to weaken the target country by compromising its core systems.
It’s pretty clear that most hackers are driven by some form of financial gain. However, recent reports have revealed other forms of motivation when it comes to cybercrime. Whatever their motivation is, cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their techniques, and the amount of attacks appears to be on the rise. Understanding the motivations of attackers helps us create a profile of who these hackers might be and what they are targeting. Social engineering can be very damaging, but implementing security awareness training and combining it with strong technological defences is the best way to prevent attacks against your users and your organization. SEGMENTECH is a CyberArk and Check Point partner in Canada. We strongly recommend implementing an Endpoints Security on-premises, hybrid, or in the cloud. Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can assist you.