What are they thinking?

Knowing hackers' favorite attack patterns and motivations can lead to better network security.

Hackers, crackers, carders and thieves are putting the squeeze on your network security. But what do you really know about them? What draws them to your network, and why do they do the things they do?

Knowing the motivations of digital intruders helps you understand their behaviors, says Dr. Max Kilger, a social psychologist for the Honeynet Project . And understanding those behaviors can help you better protect your networks.

With this in mind, Network World dug into three real cases to analyze the attackers' behaviors and motivations. The incidents include an outsider attack on a financial institution, the rooting of an e-commerce hosting provider to heist credit card numbers and an employee copying a client database from a brokerage firm to take to a new job at a competitor.

Identifying what is common and what is unique about these attacks gives you information you can use to further your own protection, detection and forensics practices.

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Radcliff is a freelancer writer in California. She can be reached at deb@radcliff.com.

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