Do you want to learn what are bad actors called in cybersecurity? As cyberattacks increase, it’s critical to comprehend the various threat actors operating behind them, their capabilities, and their motivations. You can follow cybersecurity best practices or use the best cyber security monitoring tools but unfortunately, threats still exist. But if you understand what are bad actors called in cybersecurity, you can keep yourself safer.

What are bad actors called in cybersecurity?

The most frequent threat actors—typically those responsible for the ransomware headlines you see so frequently today—are organized cyber criminals.

Their methods, ploys, and tools always change to defeat your defenses. They can generate money by stealing your data, fooling you into sending money, obtaining your login information, encrypting your data, and then demanding a ransom or committing fraud against you.

Because criminals may conceal their identities online and utilize cryptocurrencies to launder their illicit riches, cybercrime presents a minimal risk for them.

According to Uschamber, most businesses believe that in 2022, unauthorized people will try to access their systems or data.

Bad actor’s cybersecurity definition (Bad actors meaning)

An entity that is partially or completely accountable for an occurrence that has an impact on or the potential to have an impact on the security of an organization is referred to as a threat actor, also known as a malicious actor or bad actor.

Who Is Who In The Cybercriminal World?
What are bad actors called in cybersecurity?

Threat actor types and attributes in cybersecurity

Although most cybercriminals are primarily motivated by financial gain, not all threat actors are. Some may be involved in political or commercial espionage, some may have social or political agendas, and yet others may be looking for weaknesses to establish their reputations.

These are cyber threat actors:

The degree of complexity and the resources they have available for attacks are some of the characteristics that set the various types apart.

Hacktivists

The term “hacktivist” is a combination of the words “hack” and “activism,” and they differ significantly from other threat actors. They are essentially hackers who use hacking to further a specific set of political, intellectual, or religious goals. “Exposing information, defacing websites, and a denial-of-service attack” are their three main priorities.

But do hacktivists actually pose a threat? Yes and no, depending purely on the hacktivist’s specific goals. The majority of their messages are sincere and impassioned about injustice, and the hacking is more of an “expression” of their views. Therefore, even while their techniques don’t threaten themselves, the consequences might range from damaging a company’s brand to outing terrorist organizations.

Hacktivists can assemble a sizable army of like-minded hackers as well as work alone or in groups. Their attacks frequently have a pattern and use similar tools and methods. Because they are adamant about achieving their objectives and are increasingly accumulating the resources required to do so, they might represent a significant threat.

Hobbyists (Script kiddies)

Hobbyists, sometimes known as “script kiddies,” are frequently inexperienced hackers who act alone and with limited financial resources. Hobbyists are essentially “interested” in technology; their motives typically revolve around enhancing their reputation by identifying and exploiting technical system flaws. But what types of cyberattacks do amateurs carry out? There are several low-level attacks, after all. This comprises:

  • Website vandalism is essentially online graffiti.
  • Denial of service attacks prevents a particular application server from providing its services by bombarding the target with so many packets that it is unable to react.
  • By fooling the database into changing the URL, a SQL injection attack essentially exposes more content than was intended to be displayed.

Script kiddies are actors who rely on scripts they can receive from other sources since they lack the ability to develop their own dangerous programs. Both insiders and outsiders may qualify as these. It was once believed that teens were the main drivers of script kids through peer pressure or mere mischief.

Script kids can be highly tenacious in carrying out their attacks and, like hacktivists, use a number of technologies at their disposal as well as social engineering strategies. Script kids provide a threat on par with any hostile actor due to the ease with which hacking resources and knowledge are made available and the ongoing evolution of tools.

Cyber criminals 

If you are asking what are bad actors called in cybersecurity, cyber criminals are one of the first that comes to mind.

There are two basic goals for cybercriminals. To obtain important information or items, they first aim to hack a system. Second, they want to be sure that after hacking a system, they won’t face any legal repercussions. Three sub-groups of cybercriminals can be distinguished: big game hunters, automated mass scammers, and providers of criminal infrastructure.

Who Is Who In The Cybercriminal World?
What are bad actors called in cybersecurity?: Cyber criminals

Cybercriminals who target a system to make money include mass scammers and automated hackers. These threat actors utilize tools to infect computer systems within businesses. They then try to get victims to pay money so they can get their data back.

Threat actors known as criminal infrastructure providers work to infect an organization’s computer system using various technologies. The infrastructure of the organization is then sold by criminal infrastructure suppliers to an outside group so that they can abuse the system. Criminal infrastructure suppliers frequently do not notify their victims that their system has been compromised. Another subset of cybercriminals that target a single, high-value victim is known as “big game hunters.” Big game hunters spend additional time researching their prey, including the target’s system architecture and other technology. Email, phone, and social engineering attacks all have the potential to target victims.

Black hat hackers

A black hat hacker is one that operates either alone or in a small group with other black hats. If you’ve ever seen a hacker in a movie, you’ve undoubtedly seen one. These criminal actors frequently carry out their orders for clients willing to pay for their hacking services or achieve their own agendas.

Who Is Who In The Cybercriminal World?
What are bad actors called in cybersecurity?: Black hat hackers

Black hats may attack anything, from manufacturing facilities to banks and retail behemoths; the only restrictions are the object’s level of protection and the specific black hat’s abilities.

Nation-state actors

If you are asking what are bad actors called in cybersecurity, nation-state actors are one of the most dangerous.

Nation-state-sponsored actors are distinguished by a high degree of sophistication and resources. They are able to conduct both large-scale attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs), which are sneaky operations designed to remain active on the network for a protracted length of time, usually to gather specific kinds of data.

APTs can travel laterally through a network and mix in with normal traffic, which is one of the reasons they can cause a lot of harm to an organization while going unnoticed for months or even years.

Nation-state actors concentrate on numerous assault vectors at once and take advantage of a number of weaknesses. Numerous high-profile incidents in recent years have been linked to nation-state actors.

Some nations finance their regimes with the help of these skilled actors. However, it is more common for nation-state actors to lack a direct financial incentive. Their motivations could be related to national security, political espionage, military intelligence, or even efforts to sway another country’s political system. Additionally, they can search for intellectual property information that could ultimately provide the sponsoring country a competitive edge on the global market.

These attackers are well-funded and work inside vast support networks made up of numerous hacker groups. Researchers have also noticed cross-border cooperation between various associations of state-sponsored entities.

Thrill seekers and trolls

An individual who attacks a system just for the thrill of it is known as a thrill seeker. Thrill-seekers are curious about how networks and computer systems work and want to see how much data they can steal from a computer system. Although they do not intend to do much harm, they can nonetheless interfere with a system and cause issues. The thrill-seekers of old have become the trolls of today.

A troll is a person or group that targets a system for amusement, much as thrill-seekers. Trolls, on the other hand, desire to cause harm, not only for fun. Trolls in the modern era can spread false information and harm.

Inside actors

It’s a prevalent misperception that every network or data breach is the result of external cyber attackers. Large data breaches in recent years have increasingly originated from external assaults. However, since insiders have the potential to wreak more harm, information security professionals need to be aware of them.

Insiders have direct access to sensitive information as well as knowledge of corporate procedures and practices. Additionally, various network intrusion technologies, such as firewalls, are useless against inside threats and their behavior is considerably less likely to raise a red flag within the network.

Some internal actors act carelessly or negligently, and this behavior can be addressed by policies, procedures, routine education, and training. Due to the ease with which outside actors can compromise an organization using legitimate user credentials rather than trying to breach a network perimeter, insiders frequently become unwitting participants in attacks. Outside actors use social engineering and other techniques to obtain insider qualifications.

Insiders that engage in malevolent behavior may do it for a variety of reasons, such as personal gain or retaliation against a current or previous company. Insiders represent a special problem since it might be difficult to distinguish between malicious activity and legitimate business activity on the network.

If you are asking what are bad actors called in cybersecurity, inside actors are one of the hardest to detect.

Cyberterrorists

Critical systems are targeted by cyber terrorists who want to damage people or achieve their own agenda. Consider possibilities like tampering with the nation’s energy grid or polluting water supplies. If you want to learn more, we have already explained what is cyberterrorism.

Detecting threat actors

Threat detection is the process of comprehensively examining the whole IT ecosystem and security posture of a business to spot any malicious activity or vulnerability that could jeopardize the network. After hazards are identified, mitigation measures should be taken to effectively neutralize them.

Who Is Who In The Cybercriminal World?
What are bad actors called in cybersecurity?: Detecting threat actors

To start, it’s crucial to comprehend the many categories of common cyber security threats. Such as:

  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • DDoS
  • Blended Threat
  • Zero-Day Threat
  • Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

The idea of threat detection is complicated when seen in the context of an organization’s cybersecurity. In this environment, it is not unreasonable to be ready with strong security systems for the worst-case scenario because a hostile actor can get past even the most cutting-edge defensive and predictive technologies. A thorough threat detection methodology is therefore essential to a successful TDR.

You should set some practices. Such as:

  • Discover all assets on the network.
  • Scan for vulnerabilities.
  • Analyze and monitor network traffic.
  • Isolate threat.
  • Set traps.
  • Active threat hunting.

We have already explained cybersecurity best practices and best cyber security monitoring tools.

Bad actor vs hacker

Bad actors and hackers are frequently referred to interchangeably. However, is a hacker a bad actor? Everything relies on how they employ their abilities.

A hacker is a person who makes use of technology to accomplish objectives and solve issues.

Who Is Who In The Cybercriminal World?
What are bad actors called in cybersecurity?: Bad actor vs hacker

The type of hacker determines whether or not they qualify as a bad actor. Specifically, if they are a white-hat hacker or a black-hat hacker.

Black hat hacker

Malevolent hackers who actively breach cybersecurity.

White hat hacker

White hat Hackers collaborate with organizations by searching for security flaws that need to be rectified. (Not to exploit those flaws.)

Grey hat hacker

Represent a middle ground between white hat and black hat hackers. Grey hat hackers don’t collaborate with businesses to compromise their cybersecurity. However, they do notify businesses of such vulnerabilities. In other words, even though their tactics are “poor,” they primarily have good intentions.

Conclusion

There are various bad actors in cybersecurity. Cyber threats provide a variety of serious and pervasive risks. To find vulnerabilities that could be exploited and lower the possibility of an organization being a victim of an incident or cyber assault, it is necessary to conduct routine assessments, evaluate systems, and implement well-aligned TDR activities. The good guys and bad guys play a never-ending game of cat and mouse when it comes to security, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach that can guarantee total security.

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