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Types of Cyber Attackers

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


Cyber attacks refer to attempts to steal or corrupt data, disable access of systems to various resources and gain control of a system to launch attacks using it. This article can help you understand different types of attackers and give you an idea about their motivations behind such attacks, helping you prepare for attacks from various viewpoints.

Who are cyber attackers?

Cyber attackers are usually a person or a group of people that try to gain access to restricted actions or components of your system without proper permissions using security flaws or through leaked credentials, usually with malicious intent to steal sensitive information, intellectual property or gain access to your system and use it to spread more attacks.

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Types of cyber security attackers

There can be different types of cyber attackers, and they all have different agendas and motivations behind their actions. It is paramount that we understand their motivations and agendas to help understand why these cyber attacks occur. We'll be discussing five broad classifications of cyber attackers below.

Cyber Criminals

These types of cyber attackers are the most common ones, and their aim is usually to target your system and get access to information and your system. 

Some of the purposes behind these attacks usually is of the following nature:

  1. To gain access to private information and threaten to publicly release or destroy it beyond recovery unless the victim pays a ransom.
  2. Gain access to security credentials for the victim's banking information and steal from them.
  3. Taking down sites and harming the business/working of an organization.
  4. To spread malware to the systems.
  5. To spread attacks to more systems using the captured system.


These are usually a group of programmers that try to access unauthorized or sensitive information, but unlike our average cybercriminals, they don't usually target normal law-abiding citizens. Their purpose behind these attacks is usually to expose information to help their agendas, including social causes such as fighting corrupt governments, exposing criminals, helping various political causes they believe in, etc.

State Sponsered attackers

These attackers are one of the most harmful ones in the magnitude of their effect. Countries usually sponsor these to gather sensitive information, often related to the national security of a rival nation. The resources and support behind them make them much more formidable than any normal group of attackers. The purpose behind these attacks is often to compromise national security by gaining insights on critical information such as defence plans, financial plans or sensitive information about various political figures.

Insider Attackers

Insider attackers are not necessarily programming experts all the time. They may just be regular employees or personnel (such as customers) who get access to information that they can leverage against the company/organization or make the information public that may harm the organization and their reputation.

The reasons behind these threats are broadly classified into these three categories given below.

  1. Negligence is one of the major reasons that can be easily prevented here. The employee might release important information related to the organization and cause harm to them by not following proper protocol. These are usually unintentional.
  2. Malicious reasons can be the guiding factor here because the employee may be getting monetary benefits from a rival organization. They may also be guided by revenge against their current employer.
  3. Accidental reasons differ from negligence because it is wilful inaction or ignorance of pre-established protocols. However, for accidental causes, the employee might lose or corrupt some data beyond recovery that might have been very important.

Hobbyist or Amateurs

These attackers usually don't have malicious intent but can often still cause harm. These attacks typically include pranks, people wanting to gain fame, learning or just for recreational purposes. These are usually not very harmful, and the attackers have limited experience and resources. The first worm (Morris Worm) ever written is a good example. Read more about it here.

Also read - active and passive attacks


  1.  What is a famous group of hacktivists and their purpose?
    'Anonymous' is one of the famous ones. Their purpose can be summarized as anti-cyber censorship and anti-cyber surveillance.
  2.  What are some common cyber-attacks?
    Phishing, DoS (Denial of service attack), Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack, SQL injection, malware, etc., are some of the most common types of cyber security attack.
  3.  What jobs can one aim for in cyber security?
    One can pursue jobs such as:
    Network Security Engineers
    Cybersecurity Analysts
    Security Architect 
    Information Security officer
  4. Difference between a cyber attacker and a hacker?
    Hackers also refer to the ethical side where the researchers find and inform related organizations about security threats. In contrast, an attacker is the one to gain access to our data and systems for his own benefit, often at the cost of the victim.
  5. What is malware?
    Malware is a software program that disrupts users' computer security and privacy by damaging, destroying and stealing user data and computer systems. Some examples of malware are viruses, ransomware, spyware and adware.

Key Takeaways

In this article, we have extensively discussed various types of cyber attackers, the motivation behind such attacks, and how their goals and targets differ. I'll recommend learning about multiple ways attackers can attack systems and use their vulnerabilities (learn about it here). Refer here to learn more about the future career prospects in cyber security.

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We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge regarding Cyber Security and if you would like to learn more, check out our articles here. Do upvote our blog to help other ninjas grow. Happy Coding!


Topics covered
Who are cyber attackers?
Types of cyber security attackers
Cyber Criminals
State Sponsered attackers
Insider Attackers
Hobbyist or Amateurs
Key Takeaways