Cyber attacks are designed to cause damage. They can have various objectives, including the following :
Financial gain : Most cyber attacks today, especially those against commercial entities, are launched by cybercriminals for financial gain. These attacks often aim to steal sensitive data, such as customer credit card numbers or employee personal information, which the cybercriminals then use to access money or goods using the victims’ identities.
Disruption and revenge : Bad actors also launch attacks specifically to sow chaos, confusion, discontent, frustration or mistrust. They could be taking such action as a way to get revenge for acts taken against them. They could be aiming to publicly embarrass the attacked entities or to damage the organizations’ reputation. These attacks are often directed at government entities but can also hit commercial entities or nonprofit organizations.
Nation-state attackers are behind some of these types of attacks. Others, called hacktivists, might launch these types of attacks as a form of protest against the targeted entity; a secretive decentralized group of internationalist activists known as Anonymous is the most well known of such groups.
Cyberwarfare : Governments around the world are also involved in cyber attacks, with many national governments acknowledging or suspected of designing and executing attacks against other countries as part of ongoing political, economic and social disputes. These types of attacks are classified as cyberwarfare.