There are a number of reasons that people engage in criminal activity, and it is crucial for an investigator to know its “enemy” to ensure that you understand the motivation behind a crime. The reason this is so important, is so that once a motive has been established – you are already on the way to narrowing down the type of information you are looking for. If you know the person has financial motives for performing an attack, you would look for ransomware or perhaps bank transcripts and Bitcoin wallets on the persons computer. If there is a person suspected of distributing images of child exploitation – you would not be so concerned about his bank transactions, but more on doing a search for pictures containing certain amounts of skin-toned pixels as well as file name history containing obscure names.

In the field of criminal investigation, there are certain categories you could place most criminal activity inside. The motivation usually is one of these:

  1. Power Re-Assurance [Compensatory]
    behaviour that restores the offenders self worth and confidence.
  2. Power Asser2ve [Entitlement]
    as above but expressed through control, mastery and humiliation while showing authority.
  3. Anger Excitation [Sadistic]
    the violence is eroticized or pleasure given from suffering – primarily sexual.
  4. Anger Retaliatory [Anger/Displaced]
    rage general , symbolic or specific often domestic violence, stranger sex assault, work related homicide etc.
  5. Profit Oriented
    material or personal gain – non-signature type & not related to any specific emotional need

In addition to this, you can further narrow down the motivations for hackers and other computer criminals. One common trait amongst many scriptkiddies is that the motivation is “can I do this?” or “I do this because it is there to do”.

Some hakers might have a higher motive for writing malware or doing attacks, like for example to raise awareness on security issues or have companies take action against bad practice.

All in all, my reflection on this is simple. Most of human nature are not left behind once people enters the world of information technology. There will be numerous motivations for doing crime (unwanted activity) dating back to the beginning of time, and although certain behaviours and motivations are more predominately visible online – one should not exclude anything.