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Why Hackers Hack: Motives Behind Cyberattacks

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Why Hackers Hack: The Motives Behind Cyberattacks

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:

Verizon report on data breaches

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.

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Markets

Animation: The Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap Over 23 Years

In business, the only constant is change – and for tech companies, this is even more true. Here are the biggest tech companies over 23 years.

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The business world is certainly not a static one.

In the past, we’ve shown that the market leaders in the most stable industries are unlikely to keep their leadership positions over long periods of time.

But limit your window to just the dynamic world of tech and you’ll see an even more extreme example of this inherent volatility. Sometimes companies are able to separate from the rest of the pack for days or months, but it’s never an advantage that lasts for long.

Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

Today’s animation was originally posted to Reddit by /r/TheNerdistRedditor and captures the crazy world of tech valuations for public companies.

Watch the intense 1 minute animation below:


Note: the data here only lists companies traded on U.S. exchanges, and does not show every single valuation point.

Over just 23 years, the company topping the list flips eight separate times – and if you were to get more granular with the numbers (looking at daily valuations, for example), you’d see it happen far more often.

Today’s Market Cap Leaders

As we noted above, company valuations are constantly changing – and back in early September 2018, both Apple and Amazon even topped the $1 trillion milestone for a short period of time.

Using the same criteria as the above animation, which is based on U.S. listed companies, here are the top 10 tech companies based on data at time of publication:

RankCompanyTicker(s)Market Cap (March 18, 2019)
#1MicrosoftMSFT$902 billion
#2AppleAAPL$887 billion
#3AmazonAMZN$856 billion
#4AlphabetGOOG, GOOGL$824 billion
#5AlibabaBABA$471 billion
#6FacebookFB$458 billion
#7IntelINTC$243 billion
#8CiscoCSCO$236 billion
#9OracleORCL$192 billion
#10NetflixNFLX$159 billion

Based on March 18, 2019 data

This is not a comprehensive list globally, as it misses companies like Tencent which are listed on other exchanges such as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Based on recent HKD/USD conversion rates, it’s estimated that Tencent would be roughly worth $450 billion today – good enough for 7th on the list.

Regardless, since change is the only constant in the tech world, it’s fair to say that the above list of the biggest tech companies will likely be much different in just a few months time.

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Economy

Which Countries Are Set to Attract the Highest Skilled Workers from Abroad?

The world’s most innovative companies want to get the best talent at any cost. See whether their home countries are helping or hurting their odds.

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For the world’s most innovative companies, the stated goal of attracting top talent is not simply an HR mantra – it’s a matter of survival.

Whether we’re talking about a giant like Google that is constantly searching to add world-class engineers or we’re talking about a startup that needs a visionary to shape products of the future, innovative companies require access to high-skilled workers to stay ahead of their competition.

The Global Search for Talent

There’s no doubt that top companies will go out of their way to bring in highly-skilled workers, even if they must look internationally to find the best of the best.

However, part of this recruitment process is not necessarily under their control. The reality is that countries themselves have different policies that affect how easy it is to attract people, educate and develop them, and retain the best workers – and these factors can either empower or undermine talent recruitment efforts.

Today’s infographic comes from KDM Engineering, and it breaks down the top 25 countries in attracting high-skilled workers.

Which Countries Are Set to Attract the Highest Skilled Workers from Abroad?

If attracting the best people isn’t hard enough, there is another factor that can complicate things: the best people are sometimes not found locally or even nationally.

For top companies, recruitment is a global game – and it’s partially driven by the policies of governments as well as the quality of life within their countries’ borders.

Top Countries for Attracting High-Skilled Workers

Using data from the United Nations and the Global Talent Competitive Index, here are the top 10 countries that are the best at attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers.

They are ordered by overall rank, but their sub-category ranks are also displayed:

Overall RankCountryEnableAttractGrowRetainMigrants
#1๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland#2#5#5#12,438,702
#2๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore#1#1#13#72,543,638
#3๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom#8#11#7#58,543,120
#4๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States#11#16#2#846,627,102
#5๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden#9#13#8#41,639,771
#6๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia#17#6#9#146,763,663
#7๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg#21#2#17#3249,325
#8๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark#3#15#3#15572,520
#9๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland#6#21#4#9315,881
#10๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway#13#14#10#2741,813

The subcategory ranks are defined as follows:

  • Enable: Status of regulatory and market landscapes in country
  • Attract: Ability to attract companies and people with needed competencies
  • Grow: Ability to offer high-quality education, apprenticeships, and training
  • Retain: Indicates quality of life in country

According to the data, Switzerland (#1) and Singapore (#2) are the two best countries for attaining and keeping high-skilled workers.

While the regulatory environments in both of these countries are well-known by reputation, perhaps what’s more surprising is that Singapore scores the #1 rank in the “Attract” subcategory, while Switzerland is the #1 country for retaining talent based on quality of life.

Another data point that stands out?

The United States has a higher total migrant population (46.6 million) than all of the countries on the top 10 list combined. Not surprisingly, the massive U.S. economy also has a high ranking in the “Grow” category, which represents available opportunities to bring high-skilled workers to the next level through education and training.

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