Ten kinds of hackers – and how they threaten you
The hackers have gone hand in hand with IT development and have become increasingly sophisticated. Today's hackers are professional criminals, and there are a few basic types that are good to know.
A study conducted by security company Eclypsium, shows that hundreds of millions of computer components are estimated to have software that is not sufficiently secure. Computer components include touch panels, network cards, USB docks, webcams, and wifi adapters. Something that can be exploited by hackers and which also poses a security risk to the components of a computer that otherwise have security software.
Understanding different groups of hackers – what motivates them and what methods they use can help you identify the type of attacks you may be exposed to.
Our American sister magazine writer Roger A Grimes distinguishes ten basic hacking types. Here they are:
Once the robbers were pointing their pistols at banks, travelers, traders, or any light target. Today, they are hackers and use ransomware, fake invoices, dating scams, overload attacks, or any method that helps them steal money from individuals, companies, or banks. It’s about greed.
Today, countries with thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, hackers are on their payroll. Their job is to forge behind enemy lines in other countries’ military industries to map them and install back doors. Preparing the cyber warfare machine for an outbreak. Well-known examples are the Stuxnet mask that sabotaged uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran and the North Korean intrusion on Sony Pictures in revenge for a movie. But they are just the poster names government-supported hacking is going on all the time. The hackers are soldiers doing their job.
For many hackers, one day in the office means they steal corporate secrets, either to sell it for their gain or to promote the goals of the state they are employed by. Often it can be about stealing patents, business plans, financial data, contracts, or notes on legal disputes – anything that benefits competitors. But it happens that it is revealed by the competitor who is offered the information.
The shady player
The gaming industry is worth billions of dollars. The players spend big money on really sharp hardware and spend hundreds, maybe thousands, hours playing. So, of course, there are hackers who are targeting gaming. They steal competitors’ points, create congestion attacks, and it has even happened that they sent the police on the players they became angry with.
Computer power vampire
Hacking has taken a long time to suck the power out of your computer. Previously, it was about storing large files, for example, videos, on other people’s computers. But today, it’s primarily to be able to extract cryptocurrency that hackers want to get over your computing power. To succeed, they spread various types of malicious code that infect computers so that they break cryptocurrency for them. This type of malware is one of the fastest-growing right now.
Hacktivists are called those who hack for political purposes. They either want to steal information that is troublesome to a company or put up with something that costs the company money or to pay attention to the issue that the hacktivist wants to raise. Anonymous is the best known of the hacktivist groups. Among other things, they have revealed a number of child porn sites and also the name of the members. But even if they occasionally have good intentions, they can still be prosecuted for the same things as other hackers – and get jail.
Many malware developers create so-called botnets – viruses that infect as many computers as they can and then coordinate themselves as a kind of army to carry out their evil deeds. When your computer is affected, it just waits for the master to give instructions. Often, the one who created the malicious botnet rents it out to the one who is willing to pay. One example is the bot network Mirai, which caused one of the largest congestion attacks ever and, among other things, lowered the DNS supplier Dyn – which in turn knocked out large parts of the internet. It was looking for vulnerable devices – especially connected cameras – and devices where the default login credentials were still unchanged. There Mirai could easily install himself. According to some experts, one-fifth of the world’s computers have been part of a botnet army.
The Adware Spammer
If a spam program hits your business or if an adware program kidnaps the browser – then you have still come off easy. Adware, or unwanted ads, will point your browser to a site of your choice. Although it does not feel like such a severe threat, it can be a symptom of a serious system leak. Adware is looking through unpatched software, social engineering, and other methods that are the same as Trojans and ransomware use to get in.
The sports hackers
Although the hackers generally have other goals today than in their childhood, there are still some who still hack to show what they can do, even though they have become fewer. They often focus on hacking the hardware itself. It has emerged hacking kits much like Raspberry Pi kits with such things as chips and circuit boards, and it has increased the interest in hacking as a sport.
The involuntary hacker
Finally, some hackers are more like tourists than real villains. Maybe they slip more into the hacking by, for example, discovering a code error on a site and trying to understand it; they start hacking into it. To their surprise, they find out that it was as easy as it seemed. There are many stories about sites, such as used URLs, where you could easily identify customers by guessing. For these types of hackers, it can be tricky to report their discovery without crashing because they violated the law along the way. But many security professionals who are dedicated to countering hackers would love to let them go free and avoid prosecution only if they report the security flaws they discovered, writes Roger A Grimes.