Understanding hackers: The 5 primary types of external attackers

No one wants to get hacked, that’s simply a fact. But who are these faceless enemies that would attack you, anyway? 

Despite what the media might suggest, “hackers” are not a single idea. (In fact, “hackers” aren’t even inherently bad: that term simply refers to someone who makes things behave differently than intended. Good guys do that too.)

So let’s be more precise in how we talk about who you are up against. There are five types of attackers that operate from outside your company: casual hackers, hacktivists, corporate espionage, organized crime and nation-states. 

In order to defend, it’s important to understand who the attacker is and what motivates them. Just like the scout for a professional sports team who studies his opponent in order to better compete on game day, you want to understand your attackers so you can better defend against them. 

#1: Casual hacker 

The first group is the casual hacker. Casual hackers (also known as individual hackers or small-group hackers) are explorers, problem solvers and even anarchists. They see hacking as a challenge. They might not even be malicious. They just want to prove they can do it. 

For example, thanks to casual hackers, San Francisco drivers

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