It’s in our innate human nature to find out what causes things to happen. The universe exists, and we will not rest until we find the exact reason why. Knowing helps with more than just satisfying the need to know; it makes us better prepared for the future. And in the case of cyber security, being prepared is the best possible tool against malicious actors.
So what motivates these threat actors to carry out such elaborate and risky attacks? The answer is not just one thing but a host of factors. It could be financial, political, or even personal, for that matter. This blog will cover the most common motivating factors behind a cyber attack. Let’s dive right in.
7 Motivating Factors That Lead To a Cyber Attack
One of the most common motivations for cyber attacks is financial gain. There are endless possibilities for cyber criminals to make money through theft. They may seek to steal valuable information, such as credit card details, bank account information, or intellectual property, which they can sell on the black market or use to commit fraud.
Fun or Thrill-seeking
More than you would presume, cyber criminals are seeking a certain thrill that they get after cracking a secure network. These attacks may be launched by individuals or groups who want to demonstrate their technical skills or cause chaos for their own sake. So yes, some cyber attacks are carried out simply for the thrill of it. It also creates recognition and a sense of achievement for the attacker in their community.
Political or Ideological
Some cyber attacks are carried out for political or ideological reasons. Nation-states or activist groups may launch attacks to disrupt the operations of a rival nation or organisation or to spread propaganda or disinformation. A cyber attack comes in handy to spread ideologies via a reign of terror. It can force people to listen to things that they usually would ignore under normal circumstances.
In some cases, cyber attacks are carried out as an act of revenge. This can be in response to a perceived injustice or to settle a personal score. This reason might seem justified in instances where the authorities failed to provide justice and an attack was used to undo the wrongful actions. But a cyber attack or any criminal action, for however good a cause, can never be classified as noble.
Cyber attacks can also be motivated by espionage. Nation-states may seek to steal sensitive information, such as military or diplomatic secrets, or intellectual property, in order to gain a strategic advantage. Cyber espionage is not limited to nation-states; it could even be deployed in corporate, education, hospitality, medical, and other sectors of society.
Cybercriminals may also use the threat of cyber attacks to extort money from individuals or organisations. This can include ransomware attacks, where the attacker demands payment in exchange for releasing the victim’s data. It might sound similar to financial gain, but the difference here is that the money is demanded from the victim by leveraging their valuable information rather than selling the said information on the black market.
Cyber warfare is becoming an increasingly common alternative to traditional wars. Nation-states may launch cyber attacks against each other as a form of aggression, using their technical capabilities to disrupt the critical infrastructure of their enemies. In this situation, an attacker receives a generous sum of money to do the bidding of a particular nation-state.
In conclusion, there is a wide range of motivations for cyber attacks, and they can vary depending on the attacker’s goals and circumstances. Understanding these motivations can help individuals and organisations better shield themselves against cyber threats. Perceiving the incentive behind such actions helps draw a clearer picture for figuring out the possible causalities and modes of attack.
Whatever the motivation behind a cyber attack, our goal always remains to identify and neutralise it even before it can take place. GoAllSecure is well prepared to protect you and your business from cyber attacks. We have a bona fide offensive approach to identifying threats and vulnerabilities to defend you. For more information about us, kindly visit us at https://www.goallsecure.com/ or call on +91 85 2723 7851 or +44 20 3290 4885.