Ahead of the brilliant Bharat Bhise HNA security expert and cybersecurity guru coming into our offices, we asked all of you to send in any questions which you had, in order to put them straight to the expert. One such question which many of you were asking is why people hack, and what are the different motivations for those who do the hack.
Bharat has been in this game for almost 20 years and during that time he has seen just about every single type of hack and the intentions behind it, some of the stories he tells us would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! This is why Bharat is the perfect person to answer this question and he spent a good amount of time speaking to us about it. We had no idea about the many reasons for people to hack, and I’m sure that the answer may also surprise you. If this is a question that you have been wondering about, then wonder no longer as this is Bharat’s view on why people hack.
Hacking is almost always illegal but to say that people always hack to break the law would be a far stretch, and there are many who aren’t looking to break the law per se, even though they do. Those people are called sport hackers and they invest their time in trying to break and penetrate networks and computer systems for fun, and for competition. Within the hacking community, there is an awful lot of competition as to who is the best, who hacks the best and who has the best skill, the way in which they can show that is by hacking into a system which nobody else has, or which few people can. This is of course still illegal but there is little intention from a criminal point of view in those who hack, for this reason, to them it is just sport, and they are only doing it for bragging rights.
Pay Per Hack
Another group of people who lost certainly is doing something highly illegal but not quite as much as it would appear on the surface are those who are hired to hack. These men and women will take some money from a criminal in return for obtaining some information which they get through hacking. What we have seen for the most part is that the people who do this and have been caught, admit to having absolutely zero knowledge of what the criminal who paid them was going to do with the information which they retrieved for them, and the evidence normally backs that up. Admittedly this does make what they do a little less illegal, but not by much.
Straight Up Crime
Of course, there are also those who hack becasue they have criminal intentions and they are looking to get their hands on information or data which they plan to use for a range of reasons. Normally these criminals are looking to either steal money, steal personal information to commit identity fraud, or to find out information that they can then use to extort someone. These men and women don’t have much of a chance however as the conviction rate for those who do get caught are staggeringly high. Becasue law enforcement has hidden in plain sight within the hacking communities they are often perfectly placed to find out who is hacking who, and becasue this is a competitive community, it doesn’t take long for word to get out.
And finally, there are the good guys, the ethical hackers who are working for big companies and for cybersecurity firms, who do a brilliant job in helping us to stay protected. Instead of a security company making a piece of software only for hackers to find flaws and holes in it which they can exploit, these companies get ahead of the curve by hiring hackers, professional hackers, who then use their skills to try whatever they have to in order to breach the system. If they do breach it then the company will know that the product isn’t ready and they can take it back to the lab until is absolutely watertight. Those who do this job even go to university and take a degree in hacking, which is really a thing. As you can see, not all hacking is illegal and the reason why these people haven’t been committing crimes is becasue they have been given permission to do what they are doing.
There are a number of reasons for hacking in reality, some do it for sport, others for crime, some for money and then there are those who are hacking to prevent others from hacking.