Home > Cyber News > Behind the Mask of Hackers: the Motives and the Statistics

Behind the Mask of Hackers: the Motives and the Statistics

Protect your company, now. Nobody is safe from it. Anybody and any business can be hacked. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, as technology continues to advance, hackers become savvier.

They expose vulnerabilities of the systems we already have set in place, and then they sneak onto our networks. It could be anyone looming in the shadows, or sitting in the same room as you.

The statistics now point out that the likelihood of a cyber attack is higher than a home invasion. But, by the time you realize your data has been compromised, it may be too late.

You can learn from major cybersecurity attacks of the past. Historical attacks, like [wplinkpreview url=”https://sensorstechforum.com/500-million-customers-marriott-starwood-data-breach/”]the Marriott Data breach, point out the importance of managing your data.

Related: How to Protect Your Business from a Data Breach

Where Do These Breaches Occur?

So, what are the motives of hackers? Studies revealed that 90% of motives are due to financial reasons and espionage. Apart from these two leading reasons, fun, grudges, and other miscellaneous reasons motivate hackers to attack.

These studies also provide insight into the top 6 most-breached industries hackers target.

  • 24% represent healthcare organizations
  • 15% represent accommodations and food services
  • 14% represent public administration
  • 8% represent professional services
  • 7% represent financial services
  • 8% represent retail
  • 24% represent other industries not clearly defined

Among these industries, the top three for compromised data types include personal, payment, and medical.

Who’s Responsible?

The type of hacking strategy varies between each industry, as their top threats could be either internal or external.

For example, in retail, 46% of breaching efforts are for hacking. 73% of the compromised data in this industry is payment data. And, the top threat for hackers within retail is external, at 93%.

In comparison, for the financial industry, 43% of breaching efforts are for hacking. 36% of the compromised data is personal data. The top threat for this industry is 79% external.

As for healthcare organizations, 34% of breaching efforts are due to human error. The most compromised data is 79% of medical. 56% of these top hacking threats are internal.

Now, the top three compromised data varieties are personal (36%), payment (27%), and medical (25%). But what are the top data assets involved in breaches?

  • 18% are database breaches
  • 16% are POS terminals
  • 16% are POS controllers

Who’s Safe?

You may think that a large business would be better equipped to fight back against hacks, but they also have complex systems and already have a ton of data to monitor. This allows hackers to remain undetected as they conduct their hacking efforts persistently over time.

Additionally, the statistics illustrate that 58% of 2017 hacking victims were small businesses. In other words, everyone is at risk.

Small business are a major target because they may not be well prepared to take on hackers. The size of their business means that they lack the resources or staff members capable of defending their data.

Can research reveal who may be the culprits motivated to hack? Well, we already know that the hacking attacks may be internal or external.

For the top internal actors:

26% are system admins

22% end user

22% other

The external actors include:

62% organized crime

20% unaffiliated

13% state-affiliated

Related: New Hacking Methods to Look Out for in 2019

How to Safeguard

Now that you’re aware of the numbers behind hacking attacks, you can learn about some methods you can use to guard against rising hacker trends.

One of the key things you can do is to limit strict permissions to appropriate personnel. Make sure you remove permissions of all files and only allow access if appropriate. Stay active in how you track activity. This will help you uncover hidden malicious activity before it surfaces.

What else can you do? Take the necessary steps to backup your data and engage in regular data classification. Don’t rely solely on the cloud. Backup your data in multiple places and know exactly where everything is located.

You also need to make sure you use strong password security and encryption. This is because 22% of breaches were a result of stolen credentials while 13% were a result of phishing schemes. To avoid these preventable yet costly mistakes, use safe email protocols and enforce multi factor-identification.


Remember, no one is ever completely safe. Hackers are tech savvy, and it’s everyone’s best interest to uncover the patterns and strategies these people take to compromise your data.

Large and small businesses both have their faults, but if you follow the above tips to safeguard against hacks, you’ll protect yourself from headaches and lost data.

The hacker may be external or internal, meaning that you must have complete trust in whoever moderates your data.

People can learn from their mistakes and past hacking attacks, but it depends on what industry you’re in. Hackers have different motives, and they align with the data your business structure collects.

Stay safe. Don’t relinquish the control you have over your business or company to sly strangers. Every company has data to protect and each one has its own unique set of vulnerabilities.

About the Author: Sarah Hospelhorn

Sarah Hospelhorn is the Director of Product Marketing at Varonis with a background in product marketing, product management, strategy, creative direction and more.

SensorsTechForum Guest Authors

The opinions expressed in these guest posts are entirely those of the contributing author, and may not reflect those of SensorsTechForum.

More Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
I Agree