A new study of hackers discovered why they do what they do — primarily to make money.
According to the HackerOne 2016 Bug Bounty Report:
Monetary rewards are a key driver, but financial incentives are not everything. Fifty-seven percent of hackers reported that they have participated in a programs in the last six months that do not offer bounties. Meanwhile, 72% reported they hack to earn money, 70% also said they hack for fun, 66% to be challenged, 64% to advance their careers, and 51% reported a prime motivator was to do good in the world.
Bad news for banks. Good news for the Pentagon.
The business of hacking, however, it not very lucrative. Over 51% of those who responded make less than $20,000. Another 8% make $20,000 to $34,999. Only 0.8% claim to make over $350,000
As for age and country:
Hackers are from more than 70 countries, with the highest numbers in India (21%) followed by the United States (19%). Ninety percent of bug bounty hackers are under 34 years old.
The notion that Russia is home of dangerous hackers is somewhat true:
Bug bounty hackers surveyed are from 72 countries, while HackerOne platform data indicates we have hackers in nearly 100 countries. Twenty-one percent, the highest number, reported they are from India, with the United States coming in second at 19%, followed by Russia at 8%. Most of the remainder, each representing 2% to 3%, were scattered, living in the following countries (in descending order): Pakistan, United Kingdom, Egypt, Netherlands, Ukraine, Germany, Philippines, Morocco, France, and Turkey, among others.
Also, the industry is sexist. Some 97% of hackers are male.