When most people think of computer security, they think of viruses: insidious programs that do evil things, such as delete files, corrupt data, and cause havoc. While this was the case several years ago, security threats have ballooned and a broader number of culprits attempt to attack computers for a variety of reasons. Once the purview of script kiddies, malware is now used by professionals to make a hefty profit.
An Infoworld article looks at the "seven types of malicious hackers," and explains exactly what hackers are trying to do when they infiltrate your computer. There are the basic criminals, out to nab your credit card number or bank account information. There are spammers and adware spreaders, who set up botnets on infected computers to send spam to millions of others. But there are also those who are out to get information from businesses, and flip it to their victims' competitors.
Hactivitists like to deface web sites to make statements, and cyber warriors may launch attacks against governments or industrial infrastructure.
Finally, there are still some script kiddies, called, today, "rogue hackers." "There are hundreds of thousands of hackers who simply want to prove their skills, brag to friends, and are thrilled to engage in unauthorized activities."