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Cybercriminals Exposed: 5 Kinds and How They Operate

  • Edward Nick 

Cybercriminals across the globe attack vulnerable systems daily. But who are these people, and what motivates them to perform these illegal acts? Some might even call them terrorists, and in some cases they are.

To protect yourself and your organization you need to have a clear understanding of the kinds of cyber criminals out there, and how they operate. To stay protected from these cyber threats both users and organizations need multiple layers of cybersecurity. Layers such as website security, firewalls, and anti-malware. Let’s look at some of the cybercriminals we can find in the wild.

Insider Threats

This kind of threat actor is one of the most dangerous cybercriminals and poses the biggest threat to businesses. This is typically a person who is currently working at an organization or is use to working for an organization. The premise is that this person is a trusted entity that has reliable information about the inner workings of the organization. Insider threats can typically be dive into three categories:

  • The negligent employee: This person has little to no regard for organizational security protocols. Opening the organization to a cyber breach by installing unsanctioned software, for example, exposing the organization’s internal networks to malware.
  • The disgruntle employee: This person intentionally compromises the cybersecurity mechanisms that have been set into place, with the primary goal of causing malicious damage to the organization.
  • Third-party insider: This person could have been an employee whose access has not yet been deactivate. This person can access sensitive information as a form of espionage.

Social Engineers

Social engineering is one of the most common approaches utilize by cybercriminals. Social engineering refers to the practice where threat actors masquerade as a reliable party or organization to harvest sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. These threats might seem authentic to the victim. An example of this kind of attack is where a victim is sent an email to verify their details on an external, untrust, website. 

The social engineers then collect the personal data and run scams such as credit card fraud, and worse identity theft. Threat actors could leverage this, authentic, personal information to masquerade as a colleague to gain access to more complex systems of an organization. This is called spear phishing and is very hard to spot without cyber monitoring software and adequate network defenses.  


The term Skiddies is derive from Script Kiddies. It refers to young individuals or amateur hackers who have a limited set of skills and are testing the waters. They typically launch cyberattacks for fun, they typically don’t have a larger agenda, such as money, in mind. Skiddies typically attack unprotected websites or school networks since larger corporations have more complex cybersecurity mechanisms in place. However, likely, they could easily prey on internet users who have unprotected web browsers and workstations. By implementing basic, but solid, security measures, users can protect themselves from these kinds of attackers.

Ransomware Attackers

These are threat actors that gain illegal access to a secure system, and instead of causing network damage, so to speak, they install malware. This malware then copies vast volumes of data from the organization (or individual) and encrypts the local data with a secret key. By the time the organization realizes that cannot access its data, the ransomware attackers have already disconnected from their system. The threat actors then hold the data for a ransom to be paid. In a typical ransomware attack organizations must pay large amounts of money to get the decryption key so they can access their data.

Cybercrime Syndicates

These syndicates are also called hacker groups or hacktivists. They typically have many anonymous members over the globe working together to unhinge large targets such as conglomerates and even federal governments of countries. They would also typically be responsible for creating hacking tools and distributing them on the dark web.

In Conclusion

It should be clear that cybercriminals are evolving into more powerful and dangerous adversaries every day. Producing new schemes and scams to trick the average person into divulging sensitive information. Users need to utilize multiple tools to protect themselves from these attackers, tools such as:

  • Browser Security Utilities.
  • Anti-Malware Software.
  • Multifactor Authentication.
  • Strong, Unique Passwords.