Today’s hackers are often driven by political or financial motivations, or they may seek to gain notoriety. The more we know about how they think and act, the better we can protect our organizations from harm. Small and mid-sized businesses that lack the cybersecurity infrastructure of big corporations are especially at risk of exploitation. Here’s what you need to know about different types of hackers.
Skill-wise, script kiddies (or skids, for short) are at the bottom of the hacker hierarchy. Their name comes from the fact that they use scripts or other automated tools written by others. Typically, script kiddies are young people on a quest for Internet notoriety. These hackers often reject the ethical principles to “do good” embraced by professional hackers. Sometimes, they’re simply bored and in search of a thrill.
Though lacking in hacking expertise, script kiddies still can cause small businesses big damage. In May 2000, for instance, a couple of skids sent an email with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” that was injected with a malware worm. This simple hack reportedly caused tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity and data – even temporarily shutting down the email systems of The Pentagon, British Parliament and CIA. If the CIA can fall victim to such an attack, script kiddies certainly pose a risk to businesses whose employees have less training to recognize suspicious emails.
Hacktivists are typically politically motivated and often hack into businesses and government systems to promote or spur social change. Sometimes referred to as “hackers with a cause,” these individuals steal confidential information to expose or disrupt their target’s operations.
Don’t think that just because your organization is small to mid-sized that you won’t be a target for hacktivists. If your company provides services that could be viewed as political or unethical to some, the possibility of a hacktivist attack is greater.
What exactly are “cybercriminals” and how can they affect your business? These individuals are hackers who break into digital networks or systems with malicious intentions. Cybercriminals target business of every size – from mom and pop shops to global corporations.
Cybercriminal attacks come in many forms. One of the most common is social engineering, which tricks users into volunteering sensitive personal or company information that can then be sold in underground markets on the dark web. It is also common practice for cybercriminals to infect computers with ransomware and other malware or use digital technology to commit fraud or participate in illegal gambling.
The type of hacker posing the greatest threat to small and medium-sized business owners may be working right under your nose: Insiders can be current or former employees, business associates or even contractors. The primary motivator for these attackers is the desire for revenge, and often this feeling manifests by the disgruntled person stealing confidential documents or disrupting operations in some manner.
Now that you know what motivates your enemy and are aware that any business, no matter the size, can be a target, it’s time to protect your company. Get in touch with our experts today to stay a step ahead of hackers.