Why do hackers hack?
I've had to deal with a few hacked websites and this is the question that I get asked most frequently. Why do they do it?
All websites are potentially a target ... however small. The motivation of the hacker is fame and fortune. A hacker isn't necessarily looking for financial details. They want to access your website so that they can use it for various money making activities and also gaining notoriety among the cyber criminal community. There are various financial gains to be had from hacking a website:
- sending spam
- adding malware to a website so that information can be stolen from the computers of visitors to your website.
- phishing activities
- using your site for their own SEO
- using your website to attack others on the same hosting account
- passing on the access to other hackers for financial reward
A hacker is also looking for notoriety among other hackers. They're then able to market themselves within that criminal community.
If a hacker gains access to one website of several on a hosting plan, they may not place malicious code on the original site where they gained access. They're more likely to infect one or more of the other sites on the hosting plan keeping the original point of entry open for future use and re-infection.
Once they've gained access they will install something called a back-door shell in various places on the hosting account giving them access to all the files on that hosting account and therefore access to all the hosted websites. So even if you've managed to locate and remove the original point of entry, the back-door shells provide an alternative means of access so that they can keep on re-infecting your website.
A hacker only needs to find one point of entry to a website. Read more about some simple measures to keep your website secure on this earlier post.