Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

MS in IT Course Curriculum Insight: 7 Types of Malicious Hackers

Study alongside students in Walden University’s MS in Information Technology program with this required reading taken from the course Fundamentals of Information Assurance.

Walden University’s MS in Information Technology program is designed to help students progressively build a 21st-century IT career, from the foundational skills required to enter the field to the specialized expertise needed for senior-level IT positions. It’s also becoming increasingly important for IT professionals to learn techniques for detecting threats and protecting resources against attacks, the security governance structures organizations use to manage IT-related risks, and legally sound methods for investigating and responding to security breaches. Discover the different types of hackers alongside students in the master’s in information technology program at Walden with this required reading taken from the Fundamentals of Information Assurance course:1

Malicious hacker No. 1: Cyber criminals

Professional criminals comprise the biggest group of malicious hackers, using malware and exploits to steal money. It doesn’t matter how they do it, whether they’re manipulating your bank account, using your credit card numbers, faking antivirus programs, or stealing your identity or passwords. Their motivation is fast, big financial gain.

MS in IT Course Curriculum Insight: 7 Types of Malicious Hackers

Malicious hacker No. 2: Spammers and adware spreaders

Purveyors of spam and adware make their money through illegal advertising, either getting paid by a legitimate company for pushing business their way or by selling their own products. Cheap Viagra, anyone? Members of this group believe they are just “aggressive marketers.” It helps them sleep at night.

Malicious hacker No. 3: Advanced persistent threat (APT) agents

Intruders engaging in APT-style attacks represent well-organized, well-funded groups—often located in a “safe harbor” country—and they’re out to steal a company’s intellectual property. They aren’t out for quick financial gain like cyber criminals; they’re in it for the long haul. Their dream assignment is to essentially duplicate their victim’s best ideas and products in their own homeland, or to sell the information they’ve purloined to the highest bidder.

Malicious hacker No. 4: Corporate spies

Corporate spying is not new; it’s just significantly easier to do, thanks to today’s pervasive internet connectivity. Corporate spies are usually interested in a particular piece of intellectual property or competitive information. They differ from APT agents in that they don’t have to be located in a safe-harbor country. Corporate espionage groups aren’t usually as organized as APT groups, and they are more focused on short- to midterm financial gains.

Malicious hacker No. 5: Hacktivists

Lots of hackers are motivated by political, religious, environmental, or other personal beliefs. They are usually content with embarrassing their opponents or defacing their websites, although they can slip into corporate-espionage mode if it means they can weaken the opponent. Think WikiLeaks.

Malicious hacker No. 6: Cyber warriors

Cyber warfare is a city-state against city-state exploitation with an endgame objective of disabling an opponent’s military capability. Participants may operate as APT or corporate spies at times, but everything they learn is geared toward a specific military objective. The Stuxnet worm is a great example of this attack method.

Malicious hacker No. 7: 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. They may participate in other types of hacking (crimeware), but it isn’t their only objective and motivation. These are the traditional stereotyped figures popularized by the 1983 film “War Games,” hacking late at night while drinking Mountain Dew and eating Doritos. These are the petty criminals of the cyber world. They’re a nuisance, but they aren’t about to disrupt the internet and business as we know it—unlike members of the other groups.

Develop the Marketable Skills You Need to Advance Your IT Career by Earning an Advanced IT Degree at Walden University

“Your Guide to the Seven Types of Malicious Hackers” is just one of the many resources you’ll have the opportunity to study in Walden’s MS in Information Technology program. This advanced degree program is designed expand your knowledge base and prepare you for your future in the IT field. Earning your master’s in information technology is also a great decision if you’re looking to qualify for senior positions in the in-demand fields of health informatics, cyber security, big data analytics, information systems, or software engineering. And thanks to Walden’s online learning format, getting your master’s is more convenient than ever before.

There’s no need to commute to class with the MS in Information Technology program at Walden. Instead, you can complete your coursework from wherever you have internet access. Plus, an online master’s program allows you to attend class at whatever time of day works best for you—a convenience that makes it possible to earn your advanced degree in IT while you continue to work full time. If you want to become an IT professional who understands the evolving landscape of the industry, Walden’s MS in IT degree program is the right choice.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of information technology degree programs online, including an MS in Information Technology program. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

1Source: (curriculum asset)

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,