As any online security expert can confirm, cybercrime is on the rise. Each day, offenses that range from digital vandalism to identity theft occur all across the web, and these trends don’t appear to be letting up any time soon. Since financial gain is often the endgame, online stores and ecommerce sites are particularly popular targets for cybercriminals. Still, cybercriminals are not a monolith, and their methods, motivations and targets can wildly vary. With this in mind, security should be among the top priorities of every website owner and administrator. In addition to investing in effective cyber security solutions, these parties should also familiarize themselves with the most common varieties of cybercriminal.
Not all cybercriminals are motivated by money – some of them wish to make a statement. As the name suggests, hacktivists are activist hackers who target sites with which they stand in ideological opposition. Sites that host content or employ contributors they find objectionable are common targets for this breed of cybercriminal. Additionally, websites owned by banks and multinational corporations often find themselves under siege from hacktivists. Since monetary gain generally isn’t their endgame, hacktivists typically limit themselves to digital vandalism, website hijiacking and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
In most cases, cybercrime is not personal. Targets tend to be selected based on vulnerability as opposed to actual grudges. However, as is the case with any type of crime, there are exceptions to the rule. Insiders are cybercriminals with personal connections to their targets. Insiders are often disgruntled former or current employees of targeted businesses, and while they may have a financial incentive in attacking their targets, they also have personal scores to settle. Insides who lack the tech skills to carry out cybercrimes on their own will often partner up with experienced hackers and data thieves. Businesses can defend their websites against such malicious attacks with the right cyber security software. If cloud-based solutions are of interest to you, SiteLock reviews can explain everything you need to know.
When it comes to criminal activity, money is often a motivating factor – and cybercrime is no exception. True to their name, ransomers are hackers who essentially kidnap websites and hold them for ransom. They often go about this by executing DDoS attacks, which exceed a site’s overload threshold and cause it to run at a sluggish pace or go offline entirely. Unless they’re given what they want, they will continue perpetrating these attacks, thus preventing targeted sites from getting back online. Although people who maintain websites as a hobby may not be inclined to pay a costly ransom, victims whose sites are their primary source of income tend to be more receptive to the idea. After all, the longer their sites remain offline, the more money they stand to lose. While there are other methods of getting sites back up in the wake of DDoS attacks, they tend to be very time-consuming, which makes the one-and-done nature of paying a ransom more appealing to certain victims.
Like traditional criminals, cybercriminals don’t always have easily-discernible motivations. This is particularly true in the case of hackers. Although many hackers are motivated by activism, money and spreading messages, others are simply looking for a thrill. This breed of hacker isn’t picky about his or her targets and regards vulnerability as their only criteria when selecting victims. Thrill seekers will occasionally set their sights on data theft, but more often than not, they limit themselves to site vandalism and one-off DDoS attacks. Causing trouble and being a general nuisance to website owners are generally their only goals. Unsurprisingly, thrill seekers tend to be teenagers and people in their early 20s.
Cybercriminals can be a persistent thorn in the side of website owners. In addition to stealing important data, they can dramatically diminish a site’s reputation. If a website becomes known as popular target for crooks, visitor numbers are likely to suffer a noticeable drop. For people who are dependent on their sites for income, this can be downright devastating. Fortunately, keeping criminal activity off your website is far from an impossible task. Remaining knowledgeable and vigilant and investing in the right security software will serve you well in the ongoing fight against cybercrime.