Cyber attacks from hackers have been on the rise over the last few years. From big businesses such as eBay, governments organizations such as the IRS, to SME’s and local institutions, everyone is at risk.

In fact, In 2015 there were over 2.5 million cyber crimes committed in the UK alone, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But who are the people behind these hacks and what are their reasons for committing such attacks?

There’s a wide range of different types of hackers – Everything from “good guys” looking to highlight weaknesses in defences, to terrorists who want to create chaos.

Here’s a look at eight of the most common types of hackers:

1. White Hat

White hat hackers are computer experts who specialise in testing systems in order to find and point out flaws and chinks in their armour. Essentially they act like criminal hackers would but they do so in order to help companies to shore up their defences, rather than exploiting them.

2. Black Hat

Black Hat hackers are the bad guys who break into computers or networks or create viruses to steal information and take control. Their aim is to profit from selling their services or the information they steal.

3. Grey Hat

Somewhere in between black and white hats, grey hat hackers test and exploit weaknesses in systems without the knowledge or permission of their targets. Grey hat hackers will, however, reveal the flaws they find to their victims in exchange for being paid.

4. Script Kiddies

This is a derogatory term given to often young and inexperienced hackers who use off the shelf programs to attack networks and interfere with websites in order to try to make their name.

5. Hacktivists

Hacktivists are hackers with political or ideological motivations. They perform attacks to expose what they perceive as wrongdoing or to exact revenge against groups or companies that they believe are behaving immorally.

6. State Sponsored

Increasingly hackers are being supported by and doing the work of governments. Countries such as China and North Korea allegedly have veritable armies of cyber warriors who attack institutions in their government’s interests.

7. Corporate Sponsored

There are corporate hackers who are hired to break into the competition and steal valuable trade secrets. They will be paid by a company or a middle man to perform specific attacks.

8. Cyber Terrorists

Possibly the most dangerous, cyber terrorists are hackers who are religiously or ideologically motivated. Their aim is to spread fear and create chaos by attacking institutions and causing unrest.

How to protect your business

As you can see there’s a whole world of hackers who are all potentially interested in attacking your company. In order to protect your institution from this growing threat, it’s no longer enough to just have up to date security software. In addition to getting regular auditing from a security professional, it’s also wise to have additional defences in the form of employee monitoring software.

Solutions such as KnowIT can be installed remotely onto all of your company devices. From there it’ll record exactly what websites and apps each of your staff use as well as which files they access and their communications.

Managers can also choose to be alerted whenever sensitive files are accessed or copied or keywords are typed in. It’s an excellent way to prevent dangerous activity and protect your data.

To learn more about KnowIT click here.