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COMMUNITY BLOG - Shelly Mills - Who commits cybercrime?

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

The community blog posts are written by InfoSec professionals from diverse sectors who have kindly provided articles for free to support the demystifying of cyber.

Author: Shelly Mills

Have you ever wondered who is responsible for data breaches, viruses, phishing scams, and so on?

The people who are responsible for cyber security incidents are called Cyber Threat Actors. And the way in which they get to you is called an Attack Vector (examples of attack vectors include malware, social engineering, vulnerabilities in software – basically, any method Cyber Actors use to access data).

So, who are the people carrying out cyber crimes? A few common cyber threat actors are detailed below.


Who are they? Political activists that capatilise on the capabilities of the internet, and use technology to promote their agenda. Prominent examples are WikiLeaks and Anonymous. Motivation: political. Aim: Their aim is usually disruption, broadcasting information, and gaining attention for their cause. Common attack vectors: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), website defacement.

Nation-State Cyber Actors

Who are they? Nation-State actors work for governments or receive direction/funding/assistance from nation-states. Motivation: political, espionage, economic, military. Aim: steal industry information or research, gain information on another government/policy plans, disrupt critical infrastructure Common attack vectors: Spear-phishing, social engineering, targeted malware

Criminal Cyber Actors

Who are they? Criminal cyber actors are, simply, criminals. They use the cybers to enable them to commit crime more efficiently and effectively. They may be lone wolves or work in groups, such as organised crime syndicates. Motivation: financial gain. Aim: use the internet to assist in committing their crime. Common attack vectors: Social engineering, phishing, Business Email Compromise (BEC), password attacks, malware, ransomware, botnets.

COMMUNITY BLOG - guest author Shelly Mills - 1 September 2021

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