Why Do People Hack Facebook Accounts? An In-Depth Look

With over 2.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook is undoubtedly a hacker‘s paradise. But who are these hackers infiltrating Facebook accounts, and what motivates them?

As a social media consultant who has dealt with countless account hacks and scandals, I‘ve gained deep insight into the psychology and methods of Facebook hackers. In this article, I‘ll provide a comprehensive look at the different types of hackers, their incentives, and steps you can take to protect your Facebook account and business.

The Different Categories of Hackers

While curiosity and thrill-seeking play a role, most Facebook account hacks can be attributed to these main categories of hackers:

Black Hat Hackers

These hackers use their skills for malicious intent and illegal profit. They may steal identities, data and credit card details for financial fraud. Or they may spread malware and fake news for political/personal agenda.

Some examples are the Russian Fancy Bear hackers who stole data of 87 million Facebook users. And the hacker group OurMine, which compromised accounts of celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

According to cybersecurity firm Imperva, black hat hackers are responsible for over 56% of data breaches.

State-Sponsored Hackers

Governments often hire expert hackers for espionage and surveillance. By hacking accounts of foreign politicians, agencies and dissidents, they can gain geopolitical advantages.

China‘s APT10 hacking group and Russia‘s Cozy Bear group are believed to be state-sponsored. They target government entities through phishing attacks.

Hacktivists

Hacktivists are hackers who aim to promote political and social agendas. Groups like Anonymous hack Facebook and other platforms to protest censorship, unethical practices or advance whistleblowing.

In 2011, Anonymous hacked into the Facebook page of Sony in retaliation for Sony suing hacker George Hotz. They left messages protesting Sony‘s actions.

Insider Threats

These are malicious actors within an organization, like employees or contractors who abuse access privileges to compromise accounts and data.

In 2019, Facebook sued two Ukrainian contractors who had illegally accessed user data while doing work for the company.

Scammers and Spammers

These hackers use compromised accounts mainly for spreading false information, ads, malware links and phishing schemes across a victim‘s network of friends.

NortonLifeLock reports a 350% increase in social media scams during the pandemic, with most on Facebook. Clickjacking is also rampant, tricking users into installing malware.

Why Do They Do It? Key Motivations of Hackers

1. Financial Gain

With access to full names, birth dates, locations, interests and other personal data, Facebook accounts provide a goldmine for identity theft and bank fraud.

According to the 2022 Identity Fraud Study, there was a 45% increase in social media account takeovers for financial crime compared to 2020.

2. Espionage

State-sponsored or private investigators hack accounts for surveillance of targets through private messages, posts, connections and photos.

A Microsoft study found 58% of nation-state cyber intrusions targeted social media accounts and data of politicians, government agencies, journalists and human right activists.

3. Revenge

Whether due to jealousy, breakups or personal grudges, some hackers want to disrupt enemies‘ lives by hacking their accounts.

A Norton LifeLock survey found 25% of adults use current or ex-partners‘ accounts behind their backs to monitor conversations.

4. Influence and Agendas

By hacking accounts of key personalities and institutions, some hackers aim to advance political, social or religious agendas.

In Jan 2021, multiple high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked to share messages about Bitcoin giveaways in a cryptocurrency scam.

5. Fun and Thrill

For novice hackers, the sense of challenge and accomplishment of cracking an account is exhilarating. They want to impress peers with their hacking skills.

According to Imperva, 56% of hackers hack simply for fun instead of money or ideology. However, fun hacking can have serious consequences too.

Tactics Used to Hack Facebook Accounts

To gain access to accounts, hackers employ a wide range of strategies:

  • Phishing – Fake login pages to steal passwords
  • Malware and Keyloggers – Record keystrokes to acquire credentials
  • Password Guessing – Try commonly used passwords through brute force
  • Social Engineering – Manipulate users into revealing private information
  • SIM Swap – Takeover target‘s phone number to access accounts
  • Data Breaches – Users‘ passwords from third-party breaches are tried

Per the 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, phishing and stolen credentials cause 67% of hacking breaches.

Protecting Your Facebook Account and Business

As a business owner, having your social media account hacked can destroy your brand‘s reputation and credibility. Here are some tips to secure your business Facebook page:

  • Use Unique Complex Passwords – For all business accounts, avoid dictionary words. Use passphrases.
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication – Add an extra credential like OTP or U2F keys to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Limit Admin Access – Only let essential, trusted employees have admin privileges to company accounts.
  • Secure Endpoints – Install antivirus and use firewalls to prevent malware infections on company devices.
  • Educate Employees – Train staff on best practices like password hygiene and identifying phishing attempts.
  • Monitor Activity – Watch for irregularities in admin access or account changes through internal audits.
  • Remove Ex-Employees – Promptly revoke credentials of employees who are terminated or resign.

Personally, I recommend businesses use a password manager like LastPass to generate and store strong randomized passwords for all accounts.

Enabling login approvals is also a quick way to get notified of any unrecognized access attempts. Immediately take action if you observe suspicious activity.

Conclusion

In summary, Facebook hacking can be attributed to curiosity, espionage, profit, agendas, revenge or just thrill-seeking. Learning about the hacker‘s motivations and techniques is key to protecting yourself.

For individuals, enable two-factor authentication, use password managers, and be vigilant about phishing attempts or abnormal account activity. Businesses should limit admin access, educate staff on cyber risks, and regularly audit accounts.

With over a billion accounts compromised in 2024 alone, it‘s vital that both individuals and businesses take Facebook security seriously in today‘s digital landscape.