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Hacking and data theft are mostly about making a buck not espionage

New IdentityTheft Scam

As a cybersecurity researcher, I track data breaches and the black market in stolen data. The destination of stolen data depends on who is behind a data breach and why they’ve stolen a certain type of data. For example, when data thieves are motivated to embarrass a person or organization, expose perceived wrongdoing or improve cybersecurity, they tend to release relevant data into the public domain.

In 2014, hackers backed by North Korea stole Sony Pictures Entertainment employee data such as Social Security numbers, financial records and salary information, as well as emails among top executives. The hackers then published the emails to embarrass the company, possibly in retribution for releasing a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

Sometimes when data is stolen by national governments it is not disclosed or sold. Instead, it is used for espionage. For example, the hotel company Marriott was the victim of a data breach in 2018 in which personal information on 500 million guests was stolen. The key suspects in this incident were hackers backed by the Chinese government. One theory is that the Chinese government stole this data as part of an intelligence-gathering effort to collect information about U.S. government officials and corporate executives.

But the majority of hacks seem to be about selling the data to make a buck.

Source: on 2021-05-13 13:03:45

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