The Hacker’s Objectives

There are reasons why people hack computer powered devices.  There are many but they all boil down to data.  Steal Data! Change data! Destroy data!  Render the device useless for accessing data.

A hacker’s motivations vary widely.  They range from idle curiosity to criminal intent. Perhaps they want to just brag that they can do it, proving one’s cyber manhood (or womanhood). Perhaps they were paid by a nation state for political and military benefit. Maybe they were hired as an industrial spy for competitive and personal gain.  The objective can be simple as proving that the hacker could “log in” or complex as in stealing information for years without being noticed in someone’s network.  Most of the time, the motivation has nothing to do with you personally, except that your data was valuable enough to merit the risk.

As examples, the objectives may include:

  • Denial of data access (blocking someone from access their storage device)
  • Intellectual Property (IP) theft (such as the top secret formula for a soft drink)
  • Inflicting loss of reputation through exposure of sensitive information (revealing a political candidate’s tax returns)
  • Loss of trust (such as in a bank, or credit card institution)
  • Extortion: Payment of a ransom to get one’s data access restored or to keep sensitive data from becoming public.
  • Kinetic, i.e. to have something happen in the real world such as shutting off a power grid, controlling a patient drug infusion device, or controlling an airplane.
  • Data diddling (changing) to remove trust in the data.
  • Blackmail such as threatening to release stolen videos unless…