Three Hacker Categories Posing Largest Threat to Today's Businesses Profiled

By Luke Caulfield , Updated May 31, 2013 09:20 AM EDT

In this day and age, an unfortunate reality is that no one's safe online. Unless you're getting up in your years, the chances are good that the majority of your business is conducted online, from banking, personal purchases, to gaming.

Most of us know the bare basics for navigating our way safely online: use different passwords, don't give out personal information, etc. What we don't know is just who the people are trying to get sensitive information out of us, but here's a clue, not a one of 'em is a Nigerian prince.

WatchGuard Technologies came out with a useless, albeit nifty infographic to help identify the anonymous parties seeking to get your identity. "We no longer live in a world of fame-seeking hackers, script kiddies, and cyber criminals-there are some new kids on the block. It's important to understand these motive and profile changes, since they dictate what each type of hacker is ultimately after, whom they target, and how they tend to do business," writes Corey Nachreiner, director of security strategy at WatchGuard, in a recent blog post. "Knowing these things can be the key to helping your understand which of your resources and assets need the most protection, and how you might protect them."

WatchGuard divided the hackers into three distinct categories: Hacktivist, Cyber Criminal, and Nation State. The infographic, seen above (and more completely here), identifies some of the software they use, methods, claims to fame, motives, and oddly enough, their preferred choice of cocktail.

You have the "Hacktivist," which WatchGuard has figured more as the mischevious, but occasional "with a purpose" hacker. Though my knowledge of computers and hacking is basically non-existent, I'd have to question WatchGuard's knowledge, which lists one of the Hacktivists motive as "freeing terrorists," when it's most acclaimed "street cred" is data theft. The "Cybercriminal" is what folks may be more familiar with, and more commonplace. This is the guy behind the spam e-mails trying to get your credit card numbers, and whose often quite successful due to both the trusting nature of people, and a lack of knowledge about basic web security. Last up, the "Nation State" is one you likely won't be crossing unless you're part of Kim Jon Un's cabinet, or you really pissed off the wrong guy in WoW.

Interestingly enough, WatchGuard doesn't advise any tactics for how to stay under the radar of any of these "hacker" types. For that, you'll need to contact them at their site, as that's exactly the business of this "global leader of business security solutions," as well as countless others.

In the end, everyone's after your wallet.

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