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Unlocking the Minds of Hackers

Unlocking the Minds of Hackers

by EditorJuly 5, 2018

Unlocking the Minds of Hackers

Why do hackers commit cybercrimes? The motivation depends on the type of hacker.

Cybercrime is on the rise as hackers become more sophisticated.
The global cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $2 trillion by 2019,
and new points of vulnerability are created with every advance in technology.

By understanding what motivates hackers, you can make smart choices about the security you use on your devices and which websites and organizations to trust with your information.

Types of Hackers

Hackers are identified by their activities and tend to fall into one of these groups:

  • White hat – “Ethical” hackers helping uncover and fix security vulnerabilities
  • Black hat – Responsible for most common cybercrimes
  • Red hat – Take matters into their own hands to bring down black hat hackers
  • Blue hat – Use simple attacks to take revenge against others
  • Green hat – Amateur hackers with a desire to refine their hacking skills
  • Script kiddies – Use off-the-shelf hacking tools to build their reputations
  • Sponsored – Hired by states, nations or corporations to hack competing groups
  • Hacktivist – Online “activists” targeting governments or organizations
  • Cyberterrorist – Carry out large-scale attacks to disrupt the status quo



What Motivates Hackers?

Hackers carry out attacks as means to a particular end, and each type is inspired by something different. The most common reasons for hacking include:


  • Testing systems for vulnerabilities
  • Monetary gain
  • Personal glory
  • Getting back at people for perceived wrongs
  • Taking down other hackers
  • Undermining or staying ahead of other nations or corporations
  • Social change or social justice
  • Religious or personal ideologies

Gaining control

  • Gaining control of data, systems, devices or confidential information

Some of these motivations are behind the activities of the most infamous individual hackers and groups in the world.

Top 10 Notorious Hackers and Organizations

You might not know all of their names, but these hackers and hacking organizations have pulled off some of the biggest cybercrimes in history:

  • Albert Gonzalez spent two years stealing credit card info on the web before getting caught.
  • Anonymous, a hacktivist group recognizable by its Guy Fawkes masks, attacks government, religious and corporate websites.
  • Astra stole weapons technology data from the Dassault Group in France.
  • The Chaos Computer Club uses hacking to “expose security flaws.”
  • Gary McKinnon hacked 97 military and NASA systems in the U.S.
  • Jonathan James, known as “c0mrade,” hacked the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency at age 15.

  • Kevin Mitnick hacked Nokia, Motorola and the Pentagon but now works as a security consultant.
  • Lizard Squad, a black hat group, attacked PlayStation and Xbox Live networks in 2014.
  • LulzSec, a black hat group, is known for hacking the CIA, FBI, Scotland Yard and more.
  • The Syrian Electronic Army targets opposing political groups.


Although it’s practically impossible to avoid all the activities of hackers like these, you can take steps to protect your personal information and prevent as many attacks as possible. Always check the security policies of websites before sharing sensitive data, and invest in the best security software you can afford to safeguard your gadgets.

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