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This chapter is from the book

1.6 What They Hope to Accomplish

What do they hope to accomplish? Crackers want to leave their mark so their cracker friends will see it and, hopefully, so that they make the news. The quiet ones just want your systems' CPU cycles and your network bandwidth to use to attack other systems. Disgruntled and fired employees obviously want to harm you. Deleting or altering critical data or posting confidential data usually is their goal. The FBI claims that 50 percent of attacks are internal; this author's experience is closer to zero.

Competitors are most interested in increasing their profits and market share but will stoop to lowering yours to weaken you. They will use any information that they can obtain. They most commonly are after customer lists and plans for future products or marketing campaigns.

It truly is scary how much absolutely critical and confidential data resides on many executives', sales people's, and engineers' laptops, there for the grabbing!

Unlikely? Two of my clients have been relieved of their laptops at gun-point; one in his up-scale hotel in the U.S., and one in his hotel room in Africa in the middle of the night, both in the past three years. A third client caught a competitor trying to obtain its confidential computer files. As many as 337,000 laptops were stolen in the U.S. alone in 1999.

Usually, spies want information to use to their advantage. Clearly, criminals will try to subvert systems to allow theft; obtaining credit card numbers is a common theft. Extortion, too, probably is popular, though only the unsuccessful ones are publicized. This author suspects that the successful ones are paid quietly.

Extremists, sometimes considered terrorists, want to cause you harm and gain publicity for their causes. Defacing Web sites is common and this book discusses some excellent strategies to prevent it. Many will try to disrupt your operations, shutting down your e-mail, your Web site, your manufacturing plants, or erasing or altering data from your systems.

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