Preventing cybercrime is one of the top concerns in modern society. Malware, phishing, ransomware, and trojans are just a few examples of the countless threats to important digital data. Demand for skilled employees in cybersecurity increases due to incessant attacks. It is now common practice for companies to invest in their current employees by enrolling them in an online program to learn the latest in cybersecurity. Professionals are trained to identify and eliminate threats. Understanding where threats originate, and the motives behind them are key elements in defense. The following describes the most common types of cybercriminals.
Coordinated Criminal Organizations and Corporate Spies
The main priority for both of these parties is to profit or to obstruct a competitor’s potential to profit. The ability to administer corporate espionage to steal sizable finances or trade secrets is a colossal threat to cybersecurity. Corporate spies and coordinated criminal organizations will attack their adversary’s key infrastructure to access sensitive information for the purpose of blackmail.
Unhappy insiders are a typical cause of cybercrime. These individuals don’t necessarily have or need extensive knowledge of computers since most possess the authority to access sensitive data. Third-party vendors and employees can also be considered an insider threat. They may unintentionally cause a data breach by introducing malware into the system, or by downloading it into a secured simple storage service.
Of all the cyber criminals mentioned, hostile nation-states are the most high risk. Propaganda, undercover operations, website vandalism, and the disturbance of key infrastructures are all examples of threats from national cyber warfare programs. These programs are highly developed and equipped with the means to generate deep-rooted, widespread damages to any country’s national security. These contentious nation-states apply tools and technology efficiently against the most complex targets. Crucial infrastructures including electricity grids, gas control valves, and classified networks are all vulnerable to cyber attacks from hostile nation-states.
Hackers and Hacktivists
Hackers gain unauthorized access to data by seizing the opportunity of a zero-day exploit. When there is a flaw discovered in software, a zero-day exploit is a cyber attack made on the same day of the discovery. The motive for most hackers is bragging rights or to simply challenge their skill. However, the internet now provides downloads for automated attack scripts. This simplifies what was once considered a sophisticated attack that required a superior skill level. Like hackers, hacktivists use a similar tactic but have different motives. Their political values and issues inspire criminal activity. This class of hackers is disinterested in disrupting services or ruining infrastructures. Their priority is to spread propaganda that supports their political goals.
In comparison to nation-states, terrorist groups are less developed in the field of cybercrime. Despite their shortcomings, the destruction of national interest through cyberattacks continues to increase from terrorist groups. In time, as more technologically savvy generations join in, terrorist groups will become a considerable cyber threat.
Cybercrime has become prevalent across a wide range of criminals. Cybercriminals are evolving and expanding beyond the above categories mentioned. They are assisting non-technical criminals by developing advanced, but user-friendly software to execute their attacks. Rest assured, there is a legion of professional cyber-soldiers, growing by the day, fighting to protect and preserve the digital world.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!