Means, motive and opportunity = cybercrime

If you have ever followed one of those crime based TV programs then you are familiar with the trifecta of crime. All good detectives look at these three components when it comes to major crime.

To commit a crime, the three components of means, motive and opportunity, are significant but when it comes to digital crime. They are ever present.

If you apply the three points to cybercrime them we have a problem.


If I know more about a subject, I am better prepared to take advantage of that knowledge. When it comes to the digital world 90% of digital users are only capable of understanding what a system can do for them. They take what they see as the primary utilization.

Whether it is social media, office production or sales and marketing we all use some digital system to achieve our end result. In some cases, there are people who have studied these systems.

In today’s working environment we often see people who have done extensive courses given a semi superhuman status, because they have shown you an easier way, quicker way or less expensive way of completing a task.

The people who have studied extensively, either through trial and error or educational systems have the means of creating problems for anyone because they already have the means to be able to do it.


The motivation to steal, like everything else, depends on the character of the attacker.

How you steal and what you steal is significant to the target. But it still comes down to the driving motivation to do it.

The motivation can come in 4 main areas.

  • It could be ego driven – look what I have done.
  • It could be financial gain – through ransomware or financial details.
  • It could be motivated by ideology – I don’t like you cause you are different.
  • It could also be motivated by a destructive outlook – I can do this and you cannot stop me.

Every level of motivation comes from the digital world, what makes you think that you could or would not be a target by the motivation of someone else.


So we finally come down to the last of the criminal triad. Everything that we do today has some level of digital component. That digital component comes from being attached to the digital world in some way.

The opportunity to attack people attached to the digital world is there. It is there all of the time.

The digital connection for work and play is like having the criminal element sitting right next to you in your lounge room. It is ever-present.

In addition to this, the bad guys have automated systems that are similar to drag fishing. In that net, they catch the large whales as well as the smallest minnows.

They target everything. They catch everything. Everything including you.


To understand why we are all targets of cybercrime all we have to look at is the criminal triad. Motive, means and opportunity.

The bad guys have the means to target you – they know more about the systems than you do. They have the motivation – driven by need to do something to someone else and because we are always connected to the digital world they have opportunities galore.

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.