- Hobbyists are called script kiddies, have little to no skill, and rely on existing tools and exploits.
- Hacktivists hack for a cause, such as social, political, or terror agendas.
- Organized Crime hackers are part of a sophisticated, well-funded criminal group.
- Advanced Persistent Threats are the most well-trained and well-funded, often tied to nation-states.
There are a plethora of cyber threats out there. The people behind the threats are called “Threat Actors”– or sometimes cyber threat actors. Most threat actors are identified and categorized based on their skill level. There are slight variations in the naming, but below are four, common categories.
Also known as “Script Kiddies”, this is a group with little to no skill. They only use the tools and exploits written by others. Typically, they act alone and aren’t well-financed.
These are the kind of folks that are driven by a cause. They tend to hack for social change, political agendas, or cyber terrorism.
Criminal hackers that are part of a crime group. They’re typcially well-funded and highly sophisticated.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
These are the most highly trained, sophisticated, and well-funded group. They’re often nation states or funded by them, so they’ll have covert and open-source intelligence at their disposal.
Identifying a threat actor’s skill level is crucial to understanding the type of threat you’re dealing with at any given time. These classifications allow security pros to plan and establish preventative measures as well as quickly get a sense of the danger involved when attacks occur.
Next up is an overview of the types of security threats these groups pose.