Most Hackers Hack for 'Fun', Survey Suggests

Brandon Dimmel's picture

A new survey suggests that the majority of hackers carry out their work simply because they find it fun and thrilling. The survey also found that only a small portion of hackers do their work in pursuit of financial gain.

The survey was carried out by Washington-based security firm Thycotic, which asked hackers attending last week's Black Hat conference (held in Las Vegas, Nevada) what motivated them.

More than half of the respondents, or 51 per cent, said they hack for the "fun" and "thrill" of it. Just 19 per cent, or about one in five of the hackers surveyed, said they're in it for financial gain. Meanwhile, 29 per cent of the hackers said they hacked for "moral" reasons, suggesting they might identify with hacktivist groups like Anonymous. (Source:

Interestingly, only 1 per cent of the hackers surveyed said they hack for "notoriety", meaning few expect that their work will make them famous.

Few Hackers Worried About Getting Caught

Somewhat surprisingly, the vast majority (86 per cent) of the surveyed hackers said they "aren't worried about being caught" -- suggesting that law enforcement officials and digital security firms may not be having much of an impact on a growing population of international hackers.

The survey also asked hackers how much of their personal data is vulnerable. The overwhelming response, according to Thycotic was that most "believe their own information is at risk."

Hackers Mostly Target Contractors, IT Administrators

When asked who they tend to target, many of the hackers pointed to contractors (40 per cent) or IT administrators (30 per cent). Others pointed to non-executive employees (16 per cent), executive administrators (8 per cent) and executives (6 per cent).

Experts suggest that hackers frequently target contractors and IT administrators because they're most likely to have direct access to servers and critical systems, giving hackers an easy way to acquire valuable data. (Source:

Finally, most hackers don't feel the general public is prepared for their attacks. Less than half said that users are learning to avoid hacking tactics, like phishing. In fact, Thycotic found that 99 per cent of hackers say "tactics like phishing are still effective."

What's Your Opinion?

Are you surprised that most of the surveyed hackers said they don't fear being caught, and that their primary motivation is simply for the thrill of it? Do you worry that the battle against hackers is being lost by IT administrators, law enforcement officials, and security companies?

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