Understanding a hacker’s motives is essential for developing robust data protection strategies. If you don’t know precisely why attackers want to steal your data, it’s difficult to plan effective measures for stopping them. The following list addresses the most common motives for data theft today, along with tips on how to prevent various types of attacks:

Data Ransom:

Sometimes, hackers want to steal your data so that they can hold it for ransom. This is a type of ransom attack, which is one of the fastest-growing kinds of cyberattacks. The rate of ransomware attacks rose by 250% in 2017. Hackers usually execute ransom was attacks by gaining unauthorized access to data, then encrypting it or moving it and charging a payment to restore your access to it. The best way to prevent ransomed are attacks is to make sure that access to data is restricted by reliable access controls. Also, making frequent backups of data can help. If you have your data backed up on servers that hackers can’t access, then you won’t have to pay a ransom to get it back if you lose control over it.

Identity Theft:

Data breaches are designed to steal personal information so that attackers can exploit that information to break into other accounts, in an attempt to steal identities and so on. As an end-user, the best way to protect yourself against this threat is to avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, so that if an attacker steals your password for one service, the attacker won’t be able to use it to break into another one. For similar reasons, you should be careful about how you configure password recovery questions, which can do more harm than good at times. You can also spread data across multiple storage locations so that a breach of one data set doesn’t lead attackers to complete account information.

Stealing Infrastructure:

Servers and storage arrays are expensive, so some hackers will want to break into your systems to store data and host applications on your infrastructure, instead of paying for their own. One way to mitigate the risk of this type of attack is to avoid exposing infrastructure to the public internet, unless necessary. If hackers can’t see how much infrastructure you have, they’ll be less likely to want to take control of it. Of course, even having a firewall on your internal infrastructure has no guarantee that hackers won’t hack it. They might still find ways to get past your perimeter defenses. But as a best practice, your public-facing services should be limited to those that strictly need to be public-facing.

Just Because:

Unfortunately, some attackers want to steal your data just to prove that they can. These types of hackers are not motivated by monetary gain, access to free resources, or the ability to take your users’ identities. They want to prove to themselves and whoever is in the audience that they can break past your defenses. The higher your company’s reputation, the more tempting it is for attackers to show that they defeated your security measures. There is no particular way to respond to these types of attackers; you simply need to follow data security best practices in general. Monitor your systems for signs of attack, lock down access control, and avoid unnecessary attack vectors. 


But rather than worrying about hackers and their motives, you can put your mind at ease and take the precautionary step of looking for protection that can back you up. Identity Protection services work night and day to make sure that hackers are kept at bay. To get the protection you and your family deserves, visit our list of the best Identity Protection services.