A man's hand points to an image of a locks on a cloud, computer, tablet, and phone. This represents cyber security protecting data from external cyber threats.

There are several different types of external cyber threats that exist online.

One of the areas where companies have to protect themselves against threats of data breaches would be external sources. However, these external cyber threats can come from many different places. Knowing your enemy can help you to protect your business from loss.

Let’s discuss the various backers and types of external cyber threats.

Categories of External Cyber Threats

While this is not a comprehensive list, most external cyber threats will fit into one of the categories listed below:

  • Government-Backed – Remember that a lot of nations do not like the U.S., and attacking businesses (even small businesses) is seen as a way to disrupt the economy. Therefore, some foreign governments actually sponsor hackers.
  • The Activist – Some hackers view themselves as activists (leading to the term hacktivist). These individuals may be acting solely or as a group, and usually have a specific political agenda. As a result, they like to focus on attacks that will gain attention for their cause.
  • Organized Crime – No, we’re not talking about some kind of online mafia. However, there are groups of hackers that work together specifically for money-making purposes. This category is most likely to target businesses and other organizations, like schools or medical facilities. They want credit card and bank account info or anything else that can result in a quick and lucrative score.
  • The Opportunist – Many hackers, especially those acting on their own, are opportunists. Once they identify a company they can exploit, they go after unprotected sites. These hackers are the reason it is so important to load all of those security updates as soon as it becomes available.
  • The Man Inside – This one may combine external and internal threats. If you have a disgruntled employee, he or she may be willing to sell login credentials to the highest bidder. This compromises your system and allows the employee to “stick to the man.”

Can you identify which of the above threats are most likely to threaten your company? How are you protecting yourself? You may find that the only way to gain peace of mind is to hire a cyber security company.