Five types of hacker you need to guard against

On JustAskGemalto, we’ve talked a lot about the dangers of hackers. With cyber-attacks occurring more regularly than ever before and all sorts of organizations and individuals being targeted – TalkTalk, US election databases, even Mark Zuckerberg – it’s important to know more about the motivations behind these breaches. There are many different types of hackers; some are thrill-seekers, some are in it for the money, while others have political aims.

You can check out the Cyber Investigator chronicles, our new comic story, to find out more about the different types of hacker, but here’s a quick guide to some of the most common cybercriminals.


Types of hacker

Many hackers are simply out to make money. They might use ransomware to shut down an institution’s networks, demanding funds to restore access. Alternatively, they will acquire confidential data or documents and sell them on to other criminals in the cyberspace, often on the dark web.


Types of hacker

Some cybercriminals have political aims. Their targets tend to be institutions or individuals they perceive to be emblematic of a political or economic order. A common technique is to hack into a server using malware and expose confidential emails or documents. Hacktivists can also work together with malicious insiders at an organization…

Malicious insiders

Types of hacker

Malicious insiders could have a variety of motivations – they might be disgruntled at their treatment in their organization, possess radical political views, or be looking for money (shared with an external hacker). They may deliberately pass on passwords, usernames, or network authentication codes to allow a criminal to enter a company’s database.

State-sponsored attacks

People working at large government organizations and corporations also need to be wary of state-sponsored attacks. These can be highly sophisticated and very difficult to defend against. The recent Sony and DNC attacks probably had state involvement.


Some hackers are just cynical opportunists. They may seize on an unexpected security vulnerability, such as a password made public. To guard against opportunists, it’s crucial to take things like email and text message security very seriously.

Read our Cyber Investigator comic to discover more about how to beat these types of hacker, and do try to take care of your data and passwords as best you can.