The steady increase in cybercrime shows that cyber criminals are always looking for ways to compromise networks. As an internet user, you could be their next victim.
How do you protect yourself when you don’t know what you are dealing with? Knowing the types of cyber criminals and how they operate can help you be several steps ahead of them. Talk about channeling knowledge into power.
Who are cyber criminals?
Cyber ââcriminals are people or groups of people who commit illegal, malicious acts through the use of computers or cyberspace.
Their main goal is to alter or infect data for their selfish interests. They do this through their knowledge of human behavior, computer skills, and various techniques such as cross-site scripting to gain unauthorized access to their victims’ networks.
In most cases, cyber criminals do not choose a specific victim as prey. You could be a target for clicking unknown links, disclosing your sensitive information online, or downloading malware files from unlicensed websites.
Sometimes you could be the specific target of a cyber attack. The attacker uses the information they have about you to break into your network. This type of attack doesn’t always end in financial blackmail. This can lead to online bullying, stalking, or your sensitive information leaked on the internet for fun or revenge.
6 types of cyber criminals and how to use them
There are different types of cyber criminals. Each of them have their own unique ways of working. To protect yourself from these online criminals, you need to be able to understand what they are doing.
Here are the most common types of cyber criminals.
Hacktivists are a group of cyber criminals who band together to carry out cyberattacks based on a common ideology. This ideology can be political, regional, social, religious, anarchist, or even personal. It’s a combination of hacking and activism.
While some hacktivist groups prefer to remain anonymous, others don’t. There are notable notorious ones over the years. You are the DkD[||, Cult of the Dead Cow, Syrian Electronic Army, Anonymous, WikiLeaks, and LulzSec.
Their targets are specific government agencies, influential individuals, and multinational companies where they expose their activities or injustices.
Hacktivists use special tools to gain entry into an organization’s websites to leak information. They pass across their message and gain attention for the cause theyâre agitating for through this action.
2. Script Kiddies
Script kiddies, also referred to as skids or skiddies, are less experienced individuals who use existing software or scripts to launch attacks on computers and networks. These hackers solely depend on other skilled hackers’ software or programs to attack and have zero knowledge of modifying or upgrading the software or scripts.
Script kiddies usually find and prefer the simple route to hack a network as they don’t like to devote their energy to seek another path.
These cybercriminals are not interested in the monetary aspect but are in it for fun or to show off to their friends or colleagues. They are majorly teenagers and primarily target very unprotected website admins, schools, and gaming networks.
3. State Actors
State actors are cybercriminals backed by the government to forcefully target another government, individual, or organization.
They have the license to hack into any network as requested by the government to unlawfully gain, create, or influence their targets’ data.
State actors usually work with the military or intelligence unit of the country that employs them, and they possess a high level of expertise in hacking.
Since the chances of arresting them are thin, they work with no fear because of their governmental backing.
The government uses the illegal data possessed by state actors to control and manipulate an economy in its favor.
4. Insider Threats
A security attack within a targeted organization is called an insider threat. Here, the cybercriminal could be an ex-employee or business associate who still has access or login details to the company database. It could also be a current employee or an associate of the company abusing the access they have.
This type of cybercrime is more dangerous and significantly costlier than an external attack.
There are three types of insider threats:
- The malicious insider: A current employee who intentionally commits an attack.
- The negligent insider: An employee who unintentionally exposes sensitive data through human error.
- Third-party or mole: A former associate who managed to gain access to the network.
Scammers are individuals who use deceptive schemes to trick money or valuable items from their victims. They target less tech-savvy victims who canât differentiate between real and fake.
Operating mainly through phone calls, emails, and text messages, scammers disguise as company representatives to sell bogus sale discounts or fake visa lotteries. They also go into dating apps to pretend to be a prospective companion to people looking for genuine romantic partners.
6. Cybercrime Groups
Also known as hackers groups, cybercrime groups work together anonymously to build tools, software, access, information, and scripts for hacking. They also organize tutorials and form communities for people interested in hacking.
An organization that wants to examine its network security strength through penetration testing, for instance, can hire cybercrime groups.
Since they love to stay anonymous, most cybercrime groups are more present on the dark web than on the standard web.
How to Secure Your Network From Cybercriminals
When we talk about the dangers of cybercrime, you may be tempted to avoid the internet entirely, but you shouldn’t.
Here are some practical ways you can protect yourself from cyberattacks while surfing the Internet.
1. Learn more about cybersecurity
By learning about cybersecurity, you will learn about network cyber threats and how to avoid them.
There is tons of information on the internet to help you become more safety conscious, including the article you are reading right now.
2. Educate the children and the elderly
While learning about significant security breaches, children and the elderly should not be left out.
Most cyber identity thieves target children and seniors as they are less tech savvy. Let them know about protecting their social security numbers, credit information, and other sensitive information.
It would help encourage them to speak up when they feel vulnerable or threatened online.
3. Use strong passwords
Instead of repeating the same passwords on different websites, change them regularly. Repeating the same passcode can jeopardize all logins on other websites. Create strong passwords using different letters, numbers and symbols.
4. Update software
Operating system and software errors are always the main entry point for hackers. And that’s because they create weaknesses in systems.
Keep all your software updated and avoid downloading software from unknown sources.
You cannot be overly secure online. Be wary of unfamiliar text messages, emails, and phone calls. Anyone can be a threat. Take it a step further by using a trusted VPN to secure your online presence if you don’t like the idea of ââsurveillance, especially if you use public WiFi.
Check the links before clicking on them to prevent phishing.
Be vigilant about cyber threats
Your attitudes towards cybersecurity determine the effects of cyberattacks on you. If you are vigilant and proactive in your cybersecurity measures, any attack on your system will be minimal. And that’s because you’ve already put up a defense. It’s a whole different story if you take it nonchalantly.
Don’t wait for something to go wrong before taking action; it might be too late to save the day
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