Cyberattacks are getting highly sophisticated as hackers are coming up with the latest and innovative methods to stage an attack and threaten the security of different computer networks. The attacks are getting so much sophisticated that they are getting tougher to detect. Consequently, the attacks are getting more lethal than they were ever before.
Cybersecurity doesn’t depend on the size of your organization. Whether you have a start-up business or a multimillion-dollar company, you should be able to be aware of how risky a cyberattack can be.
The rise of cyberattacks gives room to the question of why do hackers attack a cyberspace? What is the motivation behind such heinous attacks?
A general perception is that financial gain drives them to stage high profile cyberattacks on the computer systems of big corporations. Some also do that for espionage purposes. This article will shed light on the motivations that hackers have on their backs to penetrate an individual computer or an enterprise computer.
Most of the time, the attack is a kind of breach that aims at infiltrating the credit and debit card details. This information is then sold on the dark web later on to bag heavy profit. The story doesn’t end here. In a majority of cases, profit is just a smokescreen to hide something bigger and deeper.
Espionage is also linked to a breach of data of a corporation or an official website of a country. These kinds of attacks typically are aimed at retrieving information from the victim.
There are lots of things that remain the same when it comes to espionage through a cyberattack, including monitoring of communication running on the cyberspace.
There is another popular technique in espionage known as stealing secrets. Earlier on, this task came into the domain of individuals who physically penetrated the space and compromised certain assets that are found inside the organization.
To give you a taste of how it all happened, I’ll state an example from Hollywood.
If you are a fan of Tom Cruise and his spy thrillers, you might for sure be acquainted with the character of Ethan, who was always on some kind of mission to infiltrate a facility and steal some important documents that could turn the tables on the bad guys.
Spy is the word that they use for such kind of person. Nowadays, things are different. There is hardly anything left in the physical domain. The craft of stealing an important bunch of information is more about being electric.
Computers have the capacity to consume billions of files that were once stored in the company’s ledgers and on loads of papers.
Espionage attacks are getting more sophisticated nowadays. Most of them are state-sponsored or are financed by the corporate sector. Some professional groups act as independent contractors to spy for profit.
Espionage is considered as a secretive activity in which attackers formulate a plan to avoid detection and achieve their objectives of collecting important information about the targeted company or individual. Spies are the most persistent attackers who keep on working until they achieve their objective.
They keep on trying a number of techniques until they accomplish their mission. Even if they are detected, they don’t stop their activities and go on until the completion of the mission.
In most cases, the initial worker is indirect, such as a trusted third-party in the form of an employee who has access to the computer system you want to target. Once the attacker has access inside the system, he will have to move through the systems of the organization and also make his way to the data stores of the company.
If you are running a financial consultancy firm, the most important data should be informed about your company’s clients. Once the attacker has access to the documents, he will be in a position to blackmail you.
The second most common motivation of a hacker is financial gains. They aim at making heavy profits by the attack. The methods of profit-driven attackers vary. Usually, if the data stolen pertains to credit card and debit card details, it is understood that the objective of the cybercrime is financial gain. The information cybercriminals steal afterward sold on the dark web to make a hefty profit.
This is the greatest motivator in today’s world in which locating the net worth of everyone is so easy. The transparency in financial transactions and details makes money as the single most important objective of a cyberattack. Everyone needs money, and no shortage of cybercriminals wouldn’t hesitate to share a pie from the money.
Different hackers use different types of methods that lead to some monetary gain. Cybercriminals use a wide range of methods using financial malware such as Dridex, Shifu, Carbanak, and Rovnix to siphon off loads of swag from the bank accounts of the victim.
Another method to rob victims is to by using ransomware such as Tesla. Denial of service attacks (DDoS) is another profit-motivated attack that has become pretty top-notch in popularity over the past years.
Whether you are the owner of a consultancy firm or a retailer of clothes, you are at a high risk of a serious cyber threat if you conduct your transactions online. They are always after user and financial details that could lead him to the source of your finances as well as your customers finances.
If they loot you, you are devastated because you will not have precious capital to hold grounds. If they loot your customers, you will lose your hard-earned reputation in the market that is equally devastating for your business. In both ways, you are at great risk of losing your business. Attackers, at the height of rage, can use a malware that can target your point of sale (POS) systems.
Sometimes, profit alone is the sole objective of an attacker. For example, your company has secured a contract from the Pentagon to produce sophisticated weapons, and you are on your way to producing them.
Hackers can target your company’s database to compromise sensitive information that can be of strategic and police use of the attacker. The attacker can be a country that needs this strategic information to update her defense assets. It can be used by politicians to shape up their political campaigns.
The chances are high that the state sponsors this kind of attack. Usually, states conduct this kind of classified mission through state-backed resources, but sometimes lack of resources can come in their way, and they have to outsource this kind of mission to experts.
Let’s take a look at the most breached industries across the world.
Virtually all business is at a considerable risk of a cyberattack, but some industries seem to be more vulnerable to these cyberattacks than the rest of the lot. The type of data that these companies hold makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. The very first industry on the line is the health industry.
The health sector tops the list of cyberattacks in the United States, and there are some valid reasons for that. The health sector carries personal information such as names, addresses, information about the income of people, social security numbers, and email IDs.
Hackers break into the databases at hospitals and access this information to exploit it later on. Their mode of attack is to gain a kind of unauthorized access to medical programs and an effort to get prescription drugs.
Most of the threat has its origins inside the organization while some of the attacks are due to some kind of human error such as leakage of information about a patient by an employee of the hospital. The employee might not have suspected that the information could be manipulated by an individual or an organization.
The second vulnerable sector is public administration. Public administration, such as government departments carry details about the employees, such as names, addresses, bank account numbers, and other personal information that can be compromised and misused if it comes in the hands of bad guys.
Another reason why hackers highly target the public sector is that it suffers from a lack of funding in the cybersecurity realm that makes it weak and a potential target of cybercriminals.
Personal information of high-ups and confidential information is at the top of the list of a hacker’s to-do chart. Confidential information can be sold on the dark web for a heavy price. It can also be sold to a state for bigger profits.
The financial sector is another field that is most vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers relish at the personal information of the owners of hefty bank accounts. In addition, they can lay their hands on the credit card information of the clients of a finance firm.
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The food industry is also in the line of industries that can be at great risk of cyberattacks. These businesses are quite vulnerable to certain breaches because they are always collecting credit card details of their customers, and their names and addresses.
Once stolen, a hacker can use this precious information to steal the identity of a customer and gain unauthorized access to bank accounts.