Motivations for Malicious Online Behavior and Consequent Emerging Cross-National Cyber Threats
Developments in information security technologies provide governments, corporations and citizens with sophisticated tools to armor themselves against the ever increasing onslaught of attacks and attempted compromises from malicious sole actors, cybercrime crews and even other nation states. In addition, negotiations among a number of governments including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and entities such as the European Union has lead to incremental progress in establishing policies and agreements in the areas of international information security policy, law enforcement and information sharing. One key component in resolving the information security dilemma that has received less attention is the development of a body of knowledge that works to better understand the geo-political forces and social psychological motivations that shape the behaviors and objectives of malicious actors online.
This paper will guide the reader through the six basic motivations for malicious online behavior, noting how the distribution of these motivations has been changing over time. Next we will explore how differences in cultural, political and economic forces theoretically may affect the distribution of these motivations among populations that differ among these lines. The paper will then shift its focus to concentrate on one specific motivational instance in the form of the “civilian cyber warrior”. An examination of the emergence of this archetype and the consequences of the shift in the nature of the power relationship between citizen and nation state will give the reader a better understanding of the serious nature of this threat vector. Finally, this paper will outline a series of potential emerging near-term and mid-term threats and consequences in the information security arena.