Hacker attacks are initially unpleasant for companies. But why do hackers attack websites and service providers at all? What are their intentions? This is the question a study has dealt with. The results are surprising.

Many people still associate a hacker attack with a nerd who sits day and night in his dark room in front of his laptop and looks at screens with thousands of lines of code.

And of course, this image is not completely far from reality. After all, a strong technical understanding of the structure and programming of websites or technical infrastructures is absolutely necessary for (successful) hacker attacks.

Why do hackers start their hacker attacks?

Also connected with the image of the hacker is the negative intention. Hackers are often accused that they only want to draw bad consequences from their work.

The community Hacker One, for example, shows that there are many specialists in this field who use their skills to increase the security of applications so that the average citizen is less likely to become a victim of fraudsters.

This makes a survey of 3,150 hackers from over 120 countries who have discovered at least one critical security vulnerability in Hacker One all the more exciting. They were asked: What is the intention behind your hacker attacks?

Hacker attacks: Between challenges, money and fun

The results should then be somewhat surprising in some places. The most common reason is the appeal of the challenge (68 percent). Is it possible to attack this system or website?

In second place comes the financial incentive (53 percent) followed by learning new tips and techniques (51 percent). It is unclear whether the money is used to blackmail the respective service providers or to reward companies for the security holes discovered.

And in the other places, too, an amazing mixture of personal and social interests is revealed.

Thus, a not to be sneezed at part of the hacker community is pursuing quite positive goals. They want to help and protect (29 percent), improve the world (27 percent) and help others (22 percent).

At the same time, however, individual and sometimes trivial reasons are always at the forefront of hacker attacks. These include having fun (49 percent), advancing one’s own career (44 percent) and proving one’s skills (eight percent).


So when it comes to the intention of hackers, good and evil are as far as possible taking the plunge. In the end, the decisive factor is that the incentive to stand up for something good must always be greater than the attraction of blackmail.

Therefore, it is important that more and more companies provide a budget to adequately reward the detection of possible security gaps. If this is not done, the negative consequences are likely to be more painful.