Remember when cyber criminals were computer geeks trying to crash computers from their mothers’ basements? Well they’ve evolved. Cyber attacks and malware have become an increasingly prevalent threat to businesses in the last few years, and the effects they have on businesses can be devastating. Keeping critical IT assets safe from cyber criminals is difficult, but it can be done.
Malware has come a long way since the first virus 25 years ago, and so have the people who create it. Getting inside the mind of a cyber criminal can be tough these days, especially when the criminals are such a diverse group. So who are these bad guys? And what do they look like?
Here are seven common types of cyber criminals. Recognize any?
1) Script kiddies: A wannabe hacker. Someone who wants to be a hacker (or thinks they are) but lacks any serious technical expertise. They are usually only able to attack very weakly secured systems.
2) Scammers: Your email inbox is probably full of their work. Discount pharmaceuticals, time-shares, personal ads from available women in Russia…sound familiar?
3) Hacker groups: Usually work anonymously and create tools for hacking. They often hack computers for no criminal reason and are sometimes even hired by companies wanting to test their security.
4) Phishers: Gotten an email recently claiming your bank account is about to expire? Don’t fall for these jerks. They want your personal information and, most likely, your identity, by directing you to a phony websites.
5) Political/religious/commercial groups: Tend to not be interested in financial gain. These guys develop malware for political ends. If you think this group is harmless, think Stuxnet. The Stuxnet worm which attacked Iran’s Atomic Program of Its Nuclear Facilities was believed to be created by a foreign government.
6) Insiders: They may only be 20% of the threat, but they produce 80% of the damage. These attackers are considered to be the highest risk. To make matters worse, as the name suggests, they often reside within an organization.
7) Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Agents: This group is responsible for highly targeted attacks carried out by extremely organized state-sponsored groups. Their technical skills are deep and they have access to vast computing resources.
So now you know who these bad guys are. As G.I. Joe would agree, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!”
[Bonus read: Also check out these 10 Tips for Keeping Malware Off Your Enterprise Computers]