May 17, 2021

Threat Actors in cyber crimes: Types and Motives

type and motives of threat actors in cyber crimes
Primary actors involved in a cyber attack

This blog explains the primary threat actors in cyber crimes and their motives.

It is important for every individual and organization to understand the threat actors in cyber crimes and their motives.

Threat actors are those individuals who have the skills to break into a system or network to infect or paralyze it. This act of breaking into a system or bypassing a layer of security is referred to as cyber attack.

Threat actors are becoming more sophisticated with time and pose greater threats to every business and individual. You can read here about the biggest threat to business in 2020.

Type of Threat Actors

There are typically 4 types of threat actors in cyber crimes-

  1. Hackers
  2. Internal Users
  3. Hacktivists
  4. Government

These are the general categories of threat actors in cyber crimes and attacks. However, you might come across other terms on the internet which more or less will refer to the ones we are going to discuss now.


Who are hackers?

Hackers are simply individuals or organization who use unscrupulous activities to harm other organizations and individuals for personal gain. They possess the skills required to break into or bypass security architecture.

They are sometimes hired by companies to hack the systems of their rivals. There can be different reasons to do it like, to gain competitive advantage or steal their intellectual property.

Hackers are not always hired by other companies. Sometimes they do it independently for their personal advantage and gains.

Terrorists or terrorist groups are cyber criminals that can be classified in this category.


Who are internal users?

Internal users are individuals who have direct access to all the devices, application and network in an organization. Employees and owners of a business are the internal users.They are authorized to use and control technological systems of the organization.

How are internal users big threat to a business?

The first reason is that internal attacks are unpredictable and undetectable. In most cases, there is no hint of an internal attack being done until the subsequent loss occurs.

There are typically two ways by which internal users affect business- intentional and unintentional.

  1. Intentional: Sometimes, an employee might use his privilege for personal gains; he/she can sell business information and strategies to its competitors for monetary gains.
  2. Unintentional: sometimes users install malware on their computer system and don’t realize about it. This happens because of poor cyber security awareness that people can’t distinguish between genuine and fake URLs on the internet.

In either case, internal users are counted as actors that cause huge loss of money (average cost is INR 5,00,000) and information.


Who are Hacktivists?

Hacktivists are the individuals or a group of individuals who show resentment to government policies and decisions. Hacktivists don’t usually have any monetary gains to look for.

They are more likely to take down sites and networks via DDoS or commit other acts of cyber vandalism. They don’t seek any financial gains through this.


They are very powerful actor in terms of hacking. They are the most sophisticated threat actors, with dedicated resources and personnel, and extensive planning and coordination.

Mostly their intentions are to spy. They normally want to understand what is happening within the country from the confidential data that they are managing.

Motives of threat actors in cyber crimes

There can be several reasons behind attacking the technological devices of individuals and organizations. Some of the common and major motives behind cyber attacks are listed below-

1. Thrill and Fun

This is a common motive that drives hackers into hacking systems or sites of big organizations or personal devices of individuals. They want to display their capabilities and have fun with technological devices around.

2. Monetary Gain or Financial Frauds

This is a huge reason behind cyber attacks. There are several ways by which hackers do it.

Using Phishing mails is an easy and cheap method of gaining credit card information of users or prompt them to transfer money into their accounts.

Ransomware attack on business is another example of how hackers extort money. Similarly, attacks on cryptocurrency is another example of monetary gains through unscrupulous activities by hackers.

3. Political Motivation

Political and social motives drive hacktivists to hack public systems and websites. They try to show resentment to government policies and decisions by bringing down sites and government systems.

4. Eavesdropping or Spying

The primary objective of spying on individuals and business organization is to keep track of the internal matters of the country.

These attacks are more calculated and measured and are done to advance the interest of the state and/or further their political agenda.


There can be several other reasons. These are the broad reasons behind major cyber attacks and shall continue to be in coming years.

Awareness is an important and great way to protect your business from cyber threats. We have more blogs to educate you about cyber security. Please reach out to us for best cyber security services to protect your business against adversaries in the rapidly advancing technological era.

Note- timely response to cyber attack can prevent business from big losses.

2 thoughts on “Threat Actors in cyber crimes: Types and Motives

Leave a Reply