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Reasons for Attacks

by Ron Kurtus (updated 23 November 2022)

An individual or group may mount an attack on a person, company or organization. Reasons for such an attack may be for revenge, financial gain, political or religious motives, for thrills, or to avoid getting caught.

It is important to know the reasons or motivations, in order to provide defense or security against such attacks.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


Revenge or anger seems to be a great motivation for a person to cause harm to others. It certainly is a top reason for domestic violence. You have also probably read about cases where an employee "went postal" and entered a company building, shooting his boss and other employees.

Sometimes people will vandalize equipment or a building to take out revenge on a company or its officials.

If you know of someone who may have been offended or or somewhat unstable, you may need to be aware of a possible threat to your person or property from such a person. People involved in a divorce or companies that recently fired a worker should be aware of the possibility of a revenge attack.

Revenge is difficult to defend against, because it is often a hidden motive. People are usually unaware they have caused this anger in another.

Financial gain

Financial gain is a motivation for theft and fraud. In some cases, individuals or companies may try to gain financially by causing problems for another company. They are trying to get a competitive advantage by harming their opponents.

If you have valuable material possessions in your home or expensive equipment in your company, you should be aware that there are people who may want to steal that property. If you have a business, you must be aware that competitors may want to gain business at your expense by using underhanded methods.

Often, you can predict that people may seek financial gain at your expense and take appropriate security precautions.

Promote a cause

Promoting a cause is the motivation of most terrorists. A person or group may have a political belief, religion or cause that they want to promote with violence. Their method is to try to harm or undermine those with apparent opposing viewpoints. Destruction of buildings through explosions or arson and the killing of various people, including innocent bystanders--are often done.

Nations must be aware of their enemies. Companies must be aware of groups that oppose their policies. Individuals must be aware their are others who disagree with their viewpoints and may attack to promote their cause.

Once an organization is aware of a hate group that wants to harm them, they can try to defend against such attacks. Unfortunately, sometimes fanatics will give up their own lives to promote their cause, making it more difficult to stop them.


Doing damage for thrills seems to be prevalent in teenaged boys. There are also sick people who want to injure or even kill others for the sake of the thrill.

Although it is difficult to anticipate such attacks, you should be aware that the threat exists.

Avoid getting caught

A secondary motivation for a person to harm others is to do it to avoid getting caught. A robber may kill his victim to avoid being recognized, or a person may damage property to intimidate someone who may turn him into the authorities.

When catching a thief or vandal in the act, you must be careful that he does not turn and attack you.


People who may mount an attack on a person, company or organization do so for revenge, financial gain, political or religious motives, or for thrills. Also, if you confronted such a person, he may attack to avoid getting caught. Knowing the reasons or motivations can help to provide defense or security against such attacks.

Know your adversaries

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