Hackers—and the malware they build and use—have grown up in the last couple of decades. When computers were big putty-colored boxes, hackers were just learning to walk and their pranks were juvenile — maybe they would create a bit of silly malware that did little more than flash “Legalize Marijuana!” or play Yankee Doodle across your screen. As computers have evolved into an economy of their own, hackers, too, have evolved out of those wide-eyed nerds into an audacious army of criminals.
Computers are no longer novel, and hackers are no longer messing around. Gone are the social misfits entertaining themselves with a bit of all-night geek hijinks, energy drinks and junk food. Today’s hackers are skilled professionals with serious jobs. They are paid well, have human resource teams, and take holidays off.
What are those jobs? The hacker employee profile is as diverse as the ways people earn money or power, but they fall, roughly, into these 11 basic types.
1. The bank robber
Once there were bank robbers and road agents who rode horses and pointed guns as they stole money from banks, travelers, merchants and anyone offering an easy target. Today’s financial hackers ride into town on ransomware and use fake invoices, dating scams, fake checks, fake escrow intermediaries, denial-of-service attacks, and any other scam or hack that will help them steal money from individuals, companies, banks, and stock accounts. Greed: It’s a story as old as humanity.