Updated: Mar 22, 2022
You have probably noticed that you cannot read the news without seeing reports of ransomware, data breaches, and cyber crime. But have you wondered WHY? Why do attackers cause this havoc? What are the motives of cyber attackers? The answers can be surprising and varied. Here are our top six motives of cyber attackers, along with some assumed mottos we created for each one.
To keep it interesting, we made some cybersecurity memes to go with each one. But cyber attacks are no joke. Types of cybersecurity attacks are always changing too. Our goal is to increase understanding, and therefore increase creative defensive strategies, to secure national and global networks better.
1. Amateurs/Script Kiddies want to cause trouble, get publicity, or just have FUN. The Amateur motto is "I bet I can do it."
2. Hacktivists believe strongly in a cause, usually with a social or political agenda. This type of cyber attacker wants to prove a point. "It's time to correct an injustice and fight for our side."
3. Organized crime. These actors and organizations provide a cybersecurity attack service or malware to their clients. "I'm here for the paycheck" would be a good motto.
4. Nation States/Advanced Persistent Threats want state secrets, intellectual property, or government data to leverage for power and political gain. These cyber attack motives can be complex and multi-faceted. "Tell me all your secrets."
5. Insider threats generally come from unhappy employees and contractors, who are putting their agendas over the organization's interests. We assume that their motto is "I do it my way." This type of cyber attack can cause havoc in a workplace.
6. Competitors. In business, learning what others are doing can be quite valuable. "We must squash the competition" would work for this motto. This cyber crime is the digital equivalent of stealing paper files or physical information.
Understanding the motives of cyber attackers is a good first step to a cybersecurity defense. This can allow your security team to increase vigilance and prepare responses for a variety of scenarios and types of cyber attack. For more fundamentals to increase your organization's security posture and processes, visit our article at PenTest Magazine.
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