Hackers: Who They Are and What They Do

The history of photography has roots in remote antiquity with the discovery of the principle of the camera obscura (a dark room) and the observation that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light.

youve been hacked

Hackers come in all sizes and shapes. From children wanting to gain notoriety on the world wide web to political groups attempting to send a message. There are many reasons for hackers to attack you.

So how can you protect yourself? One thing that can help is to know what you’re protecting yourself against. 

The following is a profile of four unique kinds of hackers:

Script Kiddies

Script kiddies (skids) are at the base of the hacker ladder.

Their name is derived from the fact that they use “scripts” or other automated tools written by other people. 

The majority of the time, script kiddies are young people on a quest for online notoriety. Or, more frequently than not, they are simply bored and in search of a rush. 

Many never become full-time hackers; in actuality, many script kiddies wind up using their abilities for the greater good, working in the security market.

Though lacking in hacking know-how, script kiddies should not be dismissed so quickly because professionals write the scripts they use. 

In May 2000, for example, a few skids sent an email with the subject line “ILOVEYOU”. The ILOVEYOU worm would delete all crucial documents on your system and, worse yet, finds your contact list replicates the email to every one of them. 

It ended up causing a reported $10 billion in lost productivity and digital harm.


Hacktivists frequently hack into companies and government systems to promote a particular political agenda or influence societal change. 

Their name is a combination of the word “Hacker” and “activist”, making them “hackers with a cause”. They steal confidential data to expose or simply interrupt their target’s operations.

If you are a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner, do not think for a second that you are immune to hacktivist strikes. 

This is particularly true if your organization is associated or partnered with other organizations which are prime hacktivist targets. 

Or, if your organization provides services which may be regarded as unethical, you might be targeted by hacktivists also.


Cybercriminals break into networks or systems with malicious intent. They target everyone from individuals to SMEs to large banks and enterprises with precious resources. 

Their main avenue of attack is exploiting employees using social engineering. They trick people into devoting sensitive personal or business data, which they could then sell on the black markets. 

They are also able to infect computers with ransomware and other malware, costing companies upwards of a billion dollars.


Possibly the scariest type of hacker is the one which lurks within your organization. An insider can be anybody from former and current workers to contractors to business partners. 

Often their motivation is payback: to correct a wrong they think that the company has done them, they will steal sensitive documents or attempt to disrupt the organization. 

Edward Snowden is a good example of an insider hacker… of the US government.

Now that you understand what motivates hackers, and if you believe you may be a target, it’s time to protect your company from different kinds of hackers out there.