Why do hackers hack? The answer likely depends on who you ask, and a good place to ask would be the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, which took place earlier this month.
IT security firm Thycotic surveyed more than 125 self-described hackers at the event, and compiled the information to better identify the “anatomy of the today’s hacker.”
If you can take the survey respondents at their word (admittedly, a huge question mark), the report reveals some interesting facets of the modern hacker mentality.
For example, more than half of respondents (51 percent) said they hack for the sheer thrill of it—or “for the lulz,” in internet speak. Twenty-nine percent cited moral reasons, while only 19 percent pointed to financial gain.
Perhaps more interesting is the finding that 86 percent of surveyed hackers believe they will never face repercussions for their illegal activities. Why?
“One theory is that the rate in which attacks are performed vastly outweighs how closely systems are monitored,” Thycotic explained. “This allows for bursts of attacks on multiple systems simultaneously, increasing success rates without adding much risk.”
The study also found that hackers most often target contractors (40 percent of the time) when trying to swipe corporate login credentials. Thirty percent of respondents pointed to IT administrators, while only six percent targeted company executives.
If you fear you’ll fall victim to one of these hackers, you’re not alone. Even hackers believe they're vulnerable—a full 88 percent of respondents said they believe their personal data is at risk of attack. That’s slightly more than the number of hackers who said they believe they'll never be caught.
Privacy is dead. Long live privacy.