Cyber criminal are thrust by a diverse selection of aims and ambitions – therefore what drives them to break into a computer and steal?


1. Money

Financial obtain is the dad of all motives because that cyber crime. According to Orla Cox, manager of security an answer at Symantec, people in the UK endured up to 2,215 ransomware strikes a job in the last 12 months. In many cases, the victim’s data, including crucial documents, pictures and video is every encrypted, and accessibility to the denied till a ransom ispaid.

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Research through SentinelOne covering 100 chief information security police officers whose organisations have actually been target by hackers revealed that 64 every cent thought their attackers were propelled by jae won gain.

“Most forms of malware in circulation today are meant to make the writer money,” states SentinelOne’s chief of protection strategy Jeremiah Grossman. He points to the CryptoWall ransomware, a Trojan equine that locks up files and requests payment for the key. By some approximates it has actually caused $325 million indamages.

Stealing this amount of money in the real people may be impossible. However not only have the right to criminals take more via virtual networks than they can by walking right into a bank with a shotgun, they have the right to hide conveniently too, usually in regions thousands of mile from where their victims feel the pain. If yes no such point as the perfect crime, this comes prettyclose.

2. The challenge

The hatchet “hacker” is ambiguous. It no come v a value judgment attached come it, so modern technology experts who fall under the an interpretation range from ordinary human being who love solving difficulties with computers to nefarious individuals applying their skills with criminalintent.

What binds these two teams is the thrill of the chase. They relish the opportunity to pit their wits versus each other and also stretch the envelope of your abilities. For some this way creating brilliant software application in a vain environment; because that others it way concocting an infamousheist.

But a little group no fit one of two people category. They simply want to view how much they have the right to go. Come these, a complex security protocol is choose a Rubik’s Cube with a thousand political parties – a difficulty too tempting toignore.

In 2001, brothers hacker Gary McKinnon began accessing secret files on computers owned by the us military and also Nasa. Operation from his girlfriend’s Aunt’s house, that read, manipulated and allegedly ruined files for much more than a year prior to being arrest by the authorities.

“The motive because that these hackers is simple – breaking something not made to be broken and accessing something never intended for their eyes,” states Paul Briault, director of digital security at CA Technologies.

3. Hactivism

Anonymous, LulzSec, Lizard formation and sophisticated Bears are all teams claiming to campaign for virtuous end via criminal means. These and hundreds of smaller groups mostly target large organisations. They execute so because that reasons varying from exacting revenge for perceived wrongdoing come uncovering defense flaws which space then hastily patched up by the victim organisation.

Last year, a team calling itself The impact Team swiped e-mail addresses and also credit card data from the website that Ashley Madison, a date organisation for married people wanting one affair. It released the data via the dark web and publicly shamed siteusers.

“The Ashley Madison data breach critical year is one example by which hackers intimidated to release details of people in a database,” says Paul McEvatt, senior cyber threat intelligence manager at Fujitsu UK and also Ireland. “It highlighted the sophistication the cyber criminals and also why much more needs come be done to combat these multilayered threats.”

In September, an elaborate Bears stole and also published athlete’s medical data in a bid come “expose the athletes that violate the principles of same play by acquisition doping substances”. Meanwhile, in 2011, LulzSec targeted Sony in retaliation for the that company legal action against hacker George Hotz. It claimed to have jeopardized one millionaccounts.

4. Revenge

For some, cyber criminality is a career, because that others the a minute of rage-fuelled madness. Disgruntled employees, spurned job candidates and also people fed increase with regarded mistreatment deserve to now precise revenge in the virtualworld.

Where once they slashed tyres or burnt out a share cupboard, now the criminally unhinged have actually the option to bring down a company’s computer system systemsinstead.

In February, a former Citibank employee was sent to prison and also fined virtually $80,000 after ~ erasing agency data and also sending 90 every cent of its network right into darkness. Lennon beam Brown, 38, indigenous Dallas, admitted damaging a protected computer after receiving a negative performance testimonial from his linemanager.

Fearing the sack, he shut under the Citibank system. Climate he sent out a text to a colleague. It read: “They to be firing me. I simply beat them to it. Nothing personal, the upper administration need to check out what the males on the floor are capable of doing when they keep gaining mistreated.

“I take it one for the team. Sorry if ns made my partner look bad, but sometimes that takes something favor what i did to wake up the upper administration up.”

5. Subversion

Orla Cox at Symantec points to a number of recent instances that digital meddling in which espionage and supervision were the likelymotive.

“Earlier in the year we experienced a brand-new wave of strikes carried the end by 2 groups, one of which was the Carbanak group, targeting a number of financial organisations. An earlier assault by a different group also targeted financial establishments resulting in thousands of millions that dollars in losses,” she says. “Carrying out attacks online essentially makes it much easier for this criminals come hide theirtracks.”

Fancy Bears, the group made famed by their leak the athletes’ medical records, to be accused of having links to the Russian state. The motive, it to be hypothesised, was retaliation because that restrictions implemented on Russian track and also field athletes and also para-athletes adhering to accusations of prevalent doping.

Meanwhile, in November 2014, a team calling chin Guardians of the tranquility leaked exclusive information about Sony employees on to the internet, including e-mails, salaries and even unreleased films.

The team launched the assault in an answer to the Sony film The Interview, which shown the assassination of north Korea dictator Kim Jong-un. Guardians that the tranquility demanded the movie withdrawn and even endangered a terrorist attack ontheatres.


Hacking is a compete sport and also cyber criminals room often motivated by a sense of achievement. If they can pull turn off the can be fried hack of, say, a global corporation or agency, climate the kudos from your peers ishuge.

As Jarrod Siket native ThreatQuotient points out: “Some individuals and also groups space solely motivated by the acknowledgment that comes with being the first to carry out something, or effectively disrupting a high-value or highly visibletarget.”

Paul Briault at CA modern technologies agrees. “Putting their name to what might be a globally debated hack rises their notoriety. Gift able to brag around their skillset is of large value to hackers,” hesays.

“Hackers favor to display off their intelligence, skillset and ability. Learning that every business and also organisation is attempting to store them out and also away from details only urges them more. Hackers are regularly proud to make their presence and achievements known.”

Social media communication such together Twitter have clearly played a component in spreading the native – and also the perpetrator’s notoriety – about attacks and in some situations they have even helped co-ordinate hacks.

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Although hackers such as Kevin MitnickandJohn Draperhave obtained notoriety, and a criminal record, native hacking, most hackers are neverfamous.