Why Hackers Hack: The Motives Behind Cyberattacks
Cyberattacks caused $450 billion of damage to the global economy in 2016, and this number is predicted to keep rising as we keep adding more connected devices to the mix.
The magnitude of this impact should not be understated. It’s bigger than the size of notable economies like the UAE ($371B) or Norway ($370B) – which is why it’s no surprise to see organizations putting major resources to shore up their internal defenses and to reduce the risk of threats.
But while the origins of this cybersecurity boom may be clear, what is less obvious is why all of this hacking is happening in the first place.
Why do hackers hack, and what are the motives behind these powerful cyberattacks?
Why Hackers Hack
Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it breaks down the statistics from a couple of large global studies on cybersecurity.
One of the first datasets shown comes from Radware, showing the motives behind why hackers hack:
- Ransom (41%)
- Insider threat (27%)
- Political reasons (26%)
- Competition (26%)
- Cyberwar (24%)
- Angry user (20%)
- Motive unknown (11%)
Interestingly, ransom is a top motive at 41% – but other reasons like politics, competition, and cyberwar were pretty evenly distributed in the mix as well.
Verizon, in their 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, break down the motives of hackers in a different way. Using the three wider categories of “Financial”, “Espionage” and “Fun, Ideology, or Grudge (FIG)”, here is how cyberattacks look over time:
Most notably, espionage appears to be on the rise.
That’s significant, because over 50% of hacks already come from organized criminal groups, and close to 20% originate from state-affiliated actors. With espionage becoming a more common motive, it suggests that cyberattacks will continue getting more sophisticated and deliberate, and that specialized teams of hackers are executing a growing percentage of the attacks.
(For a real-time view of this espionage in action, make sure to watch cyberwarfare happening in real-time.)
Who and Why?
Hackers hack for a multitude of different reasons.
However, it does seem that the actors and motives for hacking are gradually shifting over time. Fewer cyberattacks today have FIG motives (fun, ideology, grudge), and more attacks are increasingly tied to espionage.
With more deliberate, determined, sophisticated, and team-based attackers – it’s no wonder that the cybersecurity industry is growing at a 9.5% annual clip.
Mapping the Major Bitcoin Forks
Bitcoin forks play a key role in Bitcoin’s evolution as a blockchain. While some have sparked controversy, most Bitcoin forks have been a sign of growth.
Mapping the Major Bitcoin Forks
The emergence of Bitcoin took the world by storm through its simplicity and innovation. Yet, plenty of confusion remains around the term itself.
The Bitcoin blockchain—not to be confused with the bitcoin cryptocurrency—involves a vast global network of computers operating on the same distributed database to process massive volumes of data every second.
These transactions tell the network how to alter this distributed database in real-time, which makes it crucial for everyone to agree on how these changes should be applied. When the community can’t come to a mutual agreement on what changes, or when such rule changes should take effect, it results in a blockchain fork.
Today’s unique subway-style map by Bitcoin Magazine shows the dramatic and major forks that have occurred for Bitcoin. But what exactly is a Blockchain fork?
Types of Blockchain Forks
Forks are common practice in the software industry and happen for one of two reasons:
- Split consensus within the community
These forks are generally disregarded by the community because they are temporary, except in extreme cases. The longer of the two chains is used to continue building the blockchain.
- Changes to the underlying rules of the blockchain
A permanent fork which requires an upgrade to the current software in order to continue participating in the network.
There are four major types of forks that can occur:
1. Soft Forks
Soft forks are like gradual software upgrades—bug fixes, security checks, and new features—for those that upgrade right away.
These forks are “backwards compatible” with the older software; users who haven’t upgraded still have access to the network but may not be able to use all functionality in the current version.
2. Hard Forks
Hard forks are like a new OS release—upgrading is mandatory to continue using the software. Because of this, hard forks aren’t compatible with older versions of the network.
Hard forks are a permanent division of the blockchain. As long as enough people support both chains, however, they will both continue to exist.
The three types of hard forks are:
Scheduled upgrades to the network, giving users a chance to prepare. These forks typically involve abandoning the old chain.
Caused by disagreements in the community, forming a new chain. This usually involves major changes to the code.
- Spin-off Coins
Changes to Bitcoin’s code that create new coins. Litecoin is an example of this—key changes included reducing mining time from 10 minutes to 2.5 minutes, and increasing the coin supply from 21 million to 84 million.
3. Codebase Forks
Codebase forks copy the Bitcoin code, allowing developers to make minor tweaks without having to develop the entire blockchain code from scratch. Codebase forks can create a new cryptocurrency or cause unintentional blockchain forks.
4. Blockchain Forks
Blockchain forks involve branching or splitting a blockchain’s whole transaction history. Outcomes range from “orphan” blocks to new cryptocurrencies.
Splitting off the Bitcoin network to form a new currency is much like a religious schism—while most of the characteristics and history are preserved, a fork causes the new network to develop a distinct identity.
Summarizing Major Bitcoin Forks
Descriptions of major forks that have occurred in the Bitcoin blockchain:
- Bitcoin / Bitcoin Core
The first iteration of Bitcoin was launched by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Future generations of Bitcoin (aka Bitcoin 0.1.0) were renamed Bitcoin Core, or Bitcore, as other blockchains and codebases formed.
A codebase fork of Bitcoin. Developers released a hard fork protocol called Segwit2x, with the intention of having all Bitcoin users eventually migrate to the Segwit2x protocol. However, it failed to gain traction and is now considered defunct.
- Bitcoin ABC
Also a codebase fork of Bitcoin, Bitcoin ABC was intentionally designed to be incompatible with all Bitcoin iterations at some point. ABC branched off to form Bitcoin Cash in 2017.
- Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Other Fork Coins
After the successful yet contentious launch of Bitcoin Cash, other fork coins began to emerge. Unlike the disagreement surrounding Bitcoin Cash, most were simply regarded as a way to create new coins.
Some of the above forks were largely driven by ideology (BTC1), some because of mixed consensus on which direction to take a hard fork (Bitcoin ABC), while others were mainly profit-driven (Bitcoin Clashic)—or a mix of all three.
Where’s the Next Fork in the Road?
Forks are considered an inevitability in the blockchain community. Many believe that forks help ensure that everyone involved—developers, miners, and investors—all have a say when disagreements occur.
Bitcoin has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Crypto investors should be aware that Bitcoin, as both a protocol and a currency, is complex and always evolving. Even among experts, there is disagreement on what constitutes a soft or hard fork, and how certain geopolitical events have played a role in Bitcoin’s evolution.
Why Big Data Keeps Getting Bigger
Visualizing the vast amount of data produced every single minute, and why it’s still early days in the big data era of technology.
Why Big Data Keeps Getting Bigger
The sun never sets on the creation of new data.
Yes, the rate of generation may slow down at night as people send fewer emails and watch fewer videos. But for every person hitting the hay, there is another person on the opposite side of the world that is turning their smartphone on for the day.
As a result, the scale of data being generated—even when we look at it through a limited lens of one minute at a time—is quite mind-boggling to behold.
The Data Explosion, by Source
Today’s infographic comes to us from Domo, and it shows the amount of new data generated each minute through several different platforms and technologies.
Let’s start by looking at what happens every minute from a broad perspective:
- Americans use 4,416,720 GB of internet data
- There are 188,000,000 emails sent
- There are 18,100,000 texts sent
- There are 390,030 apps downloaded
Now lets look at platform-specific data on a per minute basis:
- Giphy serves up 4,800,000 gifs
- Netflix users stream 694,444 hours of video
- Instagram users post 277,777 stories
- Youtube users watch 4,500,000 videos
- Twitter users send 511,200 tweets
- Skype users make 231,840 calls
- Airbnb books 1,389 reservations
- Uber users take 9,772 rides
- Tinder users swipe 1,400,000 times
- Google conducts 4,497,420 searches
- Twitch users view 1,000,000 videos
Imagine being given the task to build a server infrastructure capable of handling any of the above items. It’s a level of scale that’s hard to comprehend.
Also, imagine how difficult it is to make sense of this swath of data. How does one even process insights from the many billions of Youtube videos watched per day?
Why Big Data is Going to Get Even Bigger
The above statistics are already mind-bending, but consider that the global total of internet users is still growing at roughly a 9% clip. This means the current rate of data creation is still just scratching the surface of its ultimate potential.
In fact, as We Are Social’s recent report on internet usage reveals, a staggering 367 million new internet users were added in between January 2018 and January 2019:
Global internet penetration sits at 57% in 2019, meaning that billions of more people are going to be using the above same services—including many others that don’t even exist yet.
Combine this with more time spent on the internet per user and technologies like 5G, and we are only at the beginning of the big data era.
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