Who Are the Cyber Criminals?
In the early years of the cybersecurity world, the typical cyber criminals were teenagers or hobbyists operating from a home PC, with attacks mostly limited to pranks and vandalism. Today, the world of the cyber criminals has become more dangerous. Attackers are individuals or groups who attempt to exploit vulnerabilities for personal or financial gain. Cyber criminals are interested in everything from credit cards to product designs, and anything with value.
Amateurs, or script kiddies, have little or no skill, often using existing tools or instructions found on the Internet to launch attacks. Some are just curious, while others try to demonstrate their skills and cause harm. They may be using basic tools, but the results can still be devastating.
This group of criminals breaks into computers or networks to gain access for various reasons. The intent of the break-in determines the classification of these attackers as white, gray, or black hats. White hat attackers break into networks or computer systems to discover weaknesses in order to improve the security of these systems. The owners of the system give permission to perform the break-in, and they receive the results of the test. On the other hand, black hat attackers take advantage of any vulnerability for illegal personal, financial or political gain. Gray hat attackers are somewhere between white and black hat attackers. The gray hat attackers may find a vulnerability and report it to the owners of the system if that action coincides with their agenda. Some gray hat hackers publish the facts about the vulnerability on the Internet, so that other attackers can exploit it.
The figure gives details about the terms white hat hacker, black hat hacker, and gray hat hacker.
These criminals include organizations of cyber criminals, hacktivists, terrorists, and state-sponsored hackers. Cyber criminals are usually groups of professional criminals focused on control, power, and wealth. The criminals are highly sophisticated and organized, and may even provide cybercrime as a service. Hacktivists make political statements to create awareness to issues that are important to them. Hacktivists publically publish embarrassing information about their victims. State-sponsored attackers gather intelligence or commit sabotage on behalf of their government. These attackers are usually highly trained and well-funded. Their attacks focus on specific goals that are beneficial to their government. Some state-sponsored attackers are even members of their nations’ armed forces.
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Why Become a Cybersecurity Specialist?
The demand for cybersecurity specialists has grown more than the demand for other IT jobs. All of the technology that transforms the kingdom and improves people’s way of life also makes it more vulnerable to attacks. Technology alone cannot prevent, detect, respond and recover from cybersecurity incidents. Consider the following:
- The skill level required for an effective cybersecurity specialist and the shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals translates to higher earning potential.
- Information technology is constantly changing. This is also true for cybersecurity. The highly dynamic nature of the cybersecurity field can be challenging and fascinating.
- A cybersecurity specialist’s career is also highly portable. Jobs exist in almost every geographic location.
- Cybersecurity specialists provide a necessary service to their organizations, countries, and societies, very much like law enforcement or emergency responders.
Becoming a cybersecurity specialist is a rewarding career opportunity.