The Anatomy of a Hacker: 86% Don't Believe They'll Face Repercussions

A new Thycotic survey of 127 "black hat" hackers revealed the majority of these cyber attackers do not believe they will face repercussions for their actions.

Dan Kobialka, Contributing writer

August 14, 2014

2 Min Read
Thycotic CEO Jonathan Cogley
Thycotic CEO Jonathan Cogley

IT security solutions provider Thycotic studied how a hacker’s mind works, and the results show the majority of these cyber attackers are not concerned about the consequences of their actions.

Thycotic’s Black Hat 2014 hacker survey executive report of 127 black hat hackers, titled “The Anatomy of a Hacker,” showed 86 percent of cyber attackers are not worried about getting caught.

“The motivations and inner workings of today’s hacker community have always been somewhat mysterious, but the damage they can do to an enterprise is painfully clear,” Thycotic CEO Jonathan Cogley said in a prepared statement. “Understanding why hackers do what they do is the first step as IT security teams take measures to better control and monitor access to company secrets.”

Other report findings included the following:

  • 99 percent of hackers said they believe simplistic hacking tactics such as phishing are still effective.

  • 88 percent said they believe their own information is at risk.

  • 51 percent said their actions are motivated by fun/thrill seeking. 29 percent said they are motivated by social consciousness or a moral compass, and 18 percent said they are motivated by financial gain.

  • When asked which types of employees they would most likely target first to obtain login credentials for a particular company, 40 percent indicated they would start with a contractor, and 30 percent would first target IT administrators.

“Organizations need to do a better job of protecting the passwords and privileged login credentials associated with contractors and IT administrators, as these employees are a huge target for cybercriminal activity,” Cogley added.

What can MSPs do to stop hackers?

As the CyberVor gang and Target data breaches show, hackers can attack anyone, including managed service providers (MSPs), their customers and their customers’ end users.

So how can MSPs stop hackers? Entrepreneur magazine‘s Matthew Toren offers the following tips:

  • Log out of any of your accounts after a session is completed

  • Update your passwords often

  • Use complex passwords

  • Secure your Wi-Fi network or use public Wi-Fi

  • Avoid downloads from unknown websites

The Verizon Enterprise Solutions 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) showed nine basic attack patterns make up 92 percent of security incidents over the last 10 years. If MSPs can stop these attacks, however, they can protect their customers and customers’ end users against numerous cyber threats.

Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

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