“Hacker” is a word that can bring up many powerful impressions in people. It may very well bring up images of a pale super genius hunched over a keyboard, awash in dim blue light, as it does for many people. However, this extremely specific image does little but pigeonhole the many hackers in the real world into this dramatized caricature.
In reality, there are many different kinds of hacker, each with a preferred target and reason for doing what they do. For your part, it helps to be familiar with the 10 types of hackers that are to be found in reality.
- Script Kiddies: There’s a reason that this type of hacker is under the “amateur” heading. These are the hackers who are capable of little more than piggybacking onto larger efforts, or dabbling in the more basic forms of cybercrime. They are little more than nuisances, compared to their hacking compatriots.
The Good Guys
- White Hats: These ethical hackers, usually security researchers, are those that help the average user by using their skills to keep threats at bay.
- Hacktivists: Using DDoS attacks and website vandalism to humiliate and hobble their targets, these actors are usually part of a larger group, working towards an ideologically driven common cause.
- Nationalist Hackers: These actors are those that, thanks to their sympathies and patriotic motives, are often given a pass by law enforcement.
- Nation State Agents: These actors typically for a government body, usually in a military or intelligence capacity. They have access to great capital resources, but will not hesitate to use common tools as well.
- Cyber Mercenaries: These are hackers-for-hire, who will be brought on to assist other cybercriminals for a share of whatever ill-gotten gains there are to be had.
- Repeat Offenders: These hackers are skilled, yet disorganized, which keeps them from obtaining the profits that other varieties of hackers do.
- Organized Crime: These are criminal organizations that focus on cybercrime, with a hierarchy that allows them to reap great profits from their schemes.
- Malicious Insider: These are the criminals who sit inside your walls, actively working to sabotage your efforts and leak critical information to your competition, often for personal motivations.
These malicious insiders are easily the most dangerous threat to an SMB, but that doesn’t mean that the others don’t cause problems as well. In order to keep them all at bay, you will not only need to encourage diligence in the workplace, but also protect that workplace with comprehensive security solutions.