Cyber criminals are as diverse as their real-world counterparts. In the last five years, there have been cyber attacks targeted at all sorts of organisations. These criminal activities include breaking into private networks, stealing data and installing ransomware, etc. Every individual is responsible for an organisation’s cyber security and it is vital that you know your enemies and implement effective cyber security measures.
3 Types of Cyber Attackers
- White Hats
- White hats are security researchers or hackers who work for organisations such as the government or cyber security firms, etc. E.g. they work to discover vulnerabilities in software and networks to recommend ways to address these gaps.
- Black Hats
- Black Hats are criminals, who use their ability to plunder individuals or organisations. They explore or develop software deficiencies and attack methods or other malicious tools to break into machines and steal data, such as passwords, email, intellectual property, credit card numbers or bank account credentials.
- Grey Hats
- Grey Hats fall into the middle ground between the White and Black Hat categories. Often, Grey Hat hackers look to expose vulnerabilities in a system to inform an organisation of the defect or share it with a group of people. Although, these hackers are not usually motivated by personal gain, their actions may be considered illegal or unethical.
Two factors that determine the type of hacker:
- What are their intentions?
- Are their intentions law-breaking?
Four primary motivators:
- Financial Gain
- Ideology or Politics
- Cyber Protection
Not all hackers have malicious intent. Hacking can be used for good and evil, it boils down to the hacker’s intent. In mainstream media, the term “hacker” is usually related to cyber criminals. A hacker could be anyone regardless of intentions or methods. Hacking is not an illegal activity unless their actions compromises a system without an owner’s permission.