In the old days, theft was one of the most serious offenses, and the punishments were extremely harsh. Fortunately for everyone, these times have passed, and the punishments have become much more humane. Nowadays, the punishment for theft can sometimes be limited to even a small fine. It all depends on the circumstances, scale and causes of the offense.
With the development of digital technologies, thefts have moved from the category of physical to virtual, and thieves began taking not expensive vases and jewelry, but valuable information and confidential data. But can we be sure that the reason lies only in money and the criminal goes to work solely with the thought of personal gain?
The motives for hacking, especially virtual hacking through penetration into the secret infrastructure of a company or a single person’s network, are very diverse, as are the methods used for such purposes. Here are some examples of the most common reasons for theft.
5 reasons why hackers steal
Cybercriminals gain access to thousands of websites every day. Attackers use them for various purposes, including creating phishing pages, sending SEO spam, etc. According to statistics, the number of cyberattacks in 2021 increased by 40% compared to 2020. And the numbers continue to grow. Owners of small companies and websites mistakenly believe that they have nothing to fear, since hackers are not interested in their activities, but this is not the case. Often, attackers do not have clear sampling criteria for the size of the company or the number of employees in it. Often it’s just a matter of chance which company will be attacked on any given day.
Among the main reasons for hacker attacks, you can single out the following:
The desire to get information
Hackers are interested in information of any kind. It may be personal data of customers and employees of a company, including email addresses, contacts, passport data, payment details and other documents. Any such information can be useful for hackers, because they will be able to sell it to the darknet, secure a loan under someone’s name, use it for blackmail, and many other illegal actions.
Undermining someone’s reputation
Let’s assume that the owner of a well-known company does something bad to some hackers. As revenge, they can hack his website and produce spam mailings from the domain, causing inconvenience and annoyance to users. This will tarnish the company’s reputation.
Elimination of a competitor
Often, professional hackers gain access to a site in order to disable it. For example, if they are ordered to eliminate a competitor, they can easily remove him from the network. Criminals are particularly excited about websites with goods, products or services, i.e. resources that bring money. After taking such a site offline, the first thing a hacker will do is demand payment in exchange for resuming its functionality.
For advertising purposes
Sites with high traffic are often hacked for advertising purposes, for example, in order to post information about a hacker’s own product there. An alternative option may be traffic redirection. Users visiting the hacked site will be automatically sent to the hackers’ site, where they will be able to get the data they need.
For fun and practice
Most hackers do not immediately seek to hack only large resources; often they take quantity over quality to hone their skills. Why train on online services specially created for hacking if you can start practicing on real websites? Another possible option is when a hacker is challenged to test his abilities. In order to show off to his colleagues, he starts hacking sites just for fun.
5 reasons why employees steal
If everything is more or less clear regarding the motives of hackers, then the reasons for theft on the part of employees are not so obvious. Why steal from your employer? There can be many options.
Theft as a way of revenge
The most common reason for theft on the part of employees is the desire to take revenge on the boss. Studies show that over 75 percent of employees who have committed crimes are taking revenge on management for various things such as reneging on promised bonuses, non-payment of wages, lack of career growth, or undeserved dismissal. It is worth noting that in companies with a lack of corporate culture, employees steal more often than in organizations with more democratic views.
There is a type of person who does risky things, but not for material gains. They steal not for a specific purpose, but because of the desire to experience an adrenaline rush. Such employees, at first glance, do not give themselves away in any way. They are responsive and friendly, often become the soul of the company, and quickly gain the confidence of their superiors. They will not work in the company for years; a few months will be enough for them to achieve certain career successes and gain a good reputation. And as soon as they feel that the time is right, they will slip away with all the confidential data, leaving not a single trace behind them. Perhaps the scammers will not even publish them later, but the fact of the theft itself will give them indescribable pleasure.
There are cases when an employee commits theft not on his own initiative, but as a result of collusion with third parties. For example, an average salesperson may be promised a warm place, a decent salary and a high position at the client’s company in exchange for the database from his current place of work. As a rule, such transactions are carried out as a result of a personal relationship between the buyer and the seller, which is not surprising, because personal connections are often involved in sales.
This is not always the first, but it’s also far from the last reason for insider theft. Often, employees, like ordinary hackers, use their powers solely for personal gain. Taking advantage of their official privileges, they can easily get hold of any secret information and sell it to interested parties for six months’ worth of salary. For the more courageous, there is another way to approach things – by blackmailing the boss. The monetary reward here remains questionable, but the chances of ending up behind bars grow exponentially.
Sometimes the theft is completely unintentional. A simple example: an employee prints confidential documents and accidentally forgets them on the printer. At the same time, the cleaning lady throws them into the trash, where anyone passing by can pull them out and make them public for any of the reasons listed above. As a result of the investigation, it is the employee who left the documents on the printer who will be punished. How fair is that?
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