As technology advances, so do hackers and their skill at infiltrating networks and systems. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can be particularly vulnerable because they often don't have a dedicated security team or ample resources to protect themselves. However, understanding the types of hackers attacking SMBs and what motivates them will go a long way toward reducing security risks.
Cybercriminals use technology for malicious purposes, typically to steal important data or money from individuals and businesses. Cybercriminals often gain access to SMBs through phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, and social engineering tactics. Once inside the network, they can cause irreparable damage to their victim’s finances, data, and systems.
An insider hacker, or malicious insider, is an individual or a group of people with authorized access to a company's computer systems, either as employees or contractors. Insiders use their privileged status to gain unauthorized access to confidential data, networks, and other corporate assets. As such, they are a growing threat to companies, with the potential to expose sensitive information and disrupt operations.
On the other hand, there are some insiders who do what they do in pursuit of what they see as justice. Edward Snowden is a prime example. He famously hacked his employer, the US government, to reveal confidential information about intelligence-gathering practices.
Technology has given hacktivists the ability to promote their causes in sophisticated ways. By infiltrating computer systems and networks, hacktivists can anonymously access sensitive data that helps them pursue political agendas or as leverage over entities. While hacktivists usually go after governments and large corporations, they may also target SMBs that they feel aren't aligned with their views or practices.
A script kiddie is a slang term for someone who is not particularly tech-savvy but uses premade scripts found online to carry out malicious activities. Script kiddies often exploit SMBs’ security gaps for notoriety.
Script kiddies may lack experience, but they are not to be underestimated. Even amateurs can create devastating pieces of malware, such as the ILOVEYOU worm, which is considered one of the most destructive computer viruses in history.
In state-sponsored hacking, government agents gain access to data or networks electronically. Governments do this for a variety of reasons such as to gather intelligence, interfere with political activities, force reform on a particular target, or even cause disruption.
State-sponsored hackers are a serious threat to businesses of all sizes and types, with the potential capability to disrupt an entire country's financial system or commodity supply lines. Tech companies and pharmaceuticals have long been prime targets for these cybercriminals; however, no industry is safe from their malicious actions. SMB owners must remain vigilant when it comes to guarding against devious state-based attacks.
These hackers are always looking for new ways to wreak havoc on companies of all sizes. Don’t wait until it's too late. Contact us today to discuss your security options and start taking steps toward protecting your business from cyberthreats.