Hacking has been in the news quite a lot over the last 12-24 months for all sorts of reasons, some inspiring and others seemingly abhorrent. So what is it that motivates someone to get involved in hacking? You could say it’s just like any other crime in that the guilty party revels in their prowess and all-to-successful antics.

However, there are actually plenty of good hackers out there that tend to get far less publicity compared to those with much more damaging intentions. Here are all the different types of hackers and what it is that motivates them to gain unauthorised access to our computers.

Black Hat Hackers

These are the guys you want to avoid; the ones who tend to be referred to as “general” hackers. “Black hat” is the term given to hackers who intend to break into networks and computers for the purpose of creating viruses. Black hat hackers are often one step ahead of any security system or opposing hacking team as they unearth the most attractive hacking opportunities first.

A lack of resistance can be down to sheer laziness or human error but it’s well known that not everybody possesses the strictest security protocols. Black hat hackers gain motivation in a few different ways, one of which is financial gain. Some work alone in an attempt to discover the most effective hacking tools and viruses.

Script Kiddies

Script Kiddies are hackers who are following in the footsteps of their black hat counterparts, albeit with far less experience and determination. Script Kiddie is actually a derogatory term for these types of hackers who use borrowed programs to deface websites at their own will.

Their motive is to try and make a name for themselves so that they gain a bit more notoriety and potentially place in a team of more experienced black hat hackers.

White Hat Hackers

The White hat hackers are those who oppose the bad guys. They are often security and computing experts that specialise in testing the strength and resilience of network security. This ensures that a company is secure enough to withstand any outside attack.

Unfortunately, black hat hackers tend to be one step ahead of the good guys as they are often technologically outpace the white hats. White hackers rely on constantly evolving technology to combat potential threats and battle the black hats.


Hacktivists are the equivalent of real-life activists demonstrating against all kinds of world-related issues from politics to the environment. The vast majority of hacktivists are motivated by politics, with attempts to hack government websites being extremely common.

Some also look to demonstrate their religious beliefs while others may look to get revenge on someone else or harass a specific target for their own entertainment. In most cases they gain access through employment and acting as a “mole”.

Cyber Terrorists

Cyber Terrorists are becoming more and more prevalent with the so-called Islamic State most recently hacking a US Government twitter account being one very well publicised example. They are generally motivated by political or religious beliefs and attempt to create a sense of chaos and fear by disrupting critical infrastructures.

Cyber terrorists are very rarely caught and pose a serious threat to online security compared to any other hacking motivations on this list. They may well operate as a team and subsequently possess a wide range of skills in order to achieve their goals. Cyber terrorists may go as far as making threats, with their ultimate motivation being to spread fear, terror and commit murder.

State Sponsored Hackers

These are the hackers that are employed by the government to ensure that military objectives and governmental strategies against potential threats are well positioned. Nowadays it’s all about controlling cyberspace, especially with reports surfacing last year surrounding a claimed hacking attempt by North Korea on a US-based firm.

State sponsored hackers are designated to operate under government orders and have infinite funds capable of targeting civilians, governments and corporations all over the world.

Article provided by London based IT Specialists TMB, where Technology Means Business.