We’ve stressed time and again that the number and complexity of cyberattacks is growing with seemingly no end in sight. In fact, the number of global cyber security attacks rose an astounding 48 percent in 2014 over 2013’s total, according to research from PwC.

So who exactly is perpetrating these attacks and what are they after? It is difficult to protect against the threats that are specific to your company and vertical without being able to answer that question. The fact is different groups of cyber intruders have different hacking goals, and organizations should be educated about all of them, especially as they decide on what kinds of network monitoring and cybersecurity tools they are considering implementing. Below are three of the most prominent groups of hackers and what motivates each to conduct their attacks:

  1. ‘Hacktivisits’: This group uses hacking techniques to advance a political or social agenda. Although some “hacktivism” does aspire to admirable goals—like exposing human rights violations across the globe—the problem is that any individual with radical beliefs and hacking know-how can maliciously target an organization, even if the company has done absolutely nothing wrong—except in the eyes of the radical group. The debate about whether “hacktivism” is a good or bad thing overall rages on, but the fact remains that almost any organization can end up on the wrong side of this practice.
  2. Cyberthieves: This group was likely behind the majority of the high-profile data breaches and hacks in 2014. Cyberthieves are motivated by one thing: money. Whether they are able to steal the keystroke and procedural information necessary to take money directly out of a bank or swipe millions of personal records for sale on the black market, the end goal for these criminals is to turn information into profit. Amazingly, since 2013 one hacking group alone has taken more than $300 million from banks across the globe. Unfortunately, 2015 was a banner year for cyberthieves and if organizations do not adopt best-in-class network monitoring and cybersecurity solutions, 2016 will bring more of the same.
  3. National Governments: Unfortunately, governments are now in the business of hacking commercial businesses in addition to each other. The Chinese government is notorious for attacking American businesses, specifically in the pharmaceutical sector. In many cases China has been able to steal drug formulas—even during the development stage—and use them to create and sell their own versions of the medications.

Being proactive is the best way to fight back and protect yourself from intruders looking to do you harm. To be sure, adopting a best-in-class cybersecurity solution requires an upfront investment, but the amount of money you stand to save over the long term will pay for that investment many times over.

To learn more about Savvius Vigil, the first network appliance able to intelligently store months of packet-level information to enhance security investigations, click here.