5 Types of Cyber Criminals & How to Avoid Them

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Cybercrimes are on the rise in the USA, and business owners need to be alert to the most common ways these criminals operate. The losses incurred by a business after a cyber attack can be staggering, particularly when the personal information of clients has been stolen. There are five general types of cybercriminals, and several techniques to help companies avoid the risk of a data breach:


“Phishing” refers to emails coming to employees (or business owners themselves) that appear to come from a legitimate source, such as tax authorities, a vendor, client, or another party. Within the body of the email, you are asked to urgently reply, or click on a link. Once the link is activated, cybercriminals can access your internal systems, including the personal information of your customers or clients. These phishing emails may be obvious, or very sophisticated, appearing completely legitimate. It is critical that your employees are educated about phishing, as this method is one of the most common ways cybercriminals successfully perform a data breach.


Hacking is one of the most common ways cybercriminals access company systems. They may first install malware through a weakness in system security. The malware captures passwords keystrokes, allowing access to bank accounts, business operations, and private personal information. If you are uncertain if your computer system is protected against an incursion, a security consultant can evaluate your system and install security features to reduce the chances that a hacker will be successful. Ensure every employee uses strong passwords and implements multi-factor authentication.

Former or Disgruntled Employees

An employee that is unhappy with a boss, pay, company culture or other aspects of employment can be the source of an expensive data breach. To avoid the serious financial losses associated with a cyber incursion, ensure all employee credentials are canceled immediately when an employee leaves the company, update your internal security system to track and log employee online actions.


Ransomware has led to disasters at hospitals, retailers, and businesses across the globe. A specific type of software is installed on the system, typically through phishing or hacking. Once the software is activated, the computer data cannot be accessed. The victim, whether a business, agency or other entity, is held hostage until the ransom is paid. The cybercriminals involved in these actions are typically sophisticated groups located overseas. They often demand payment in bitcoin, and until the ransom is paid, your systems are inaccessible. Some of the basic methods to avoid ransomware are multi-factor authentication and a full security update to your business technology.

Digital Stalkers

Your digital information can be found online, through various legal and illegal methods. Cybercriminals track your actions online, looking for information on social media, such as your pet’s name, your date of birth, the name of a parent, child, or other information to discover passwords. Once the passwords are identified, cybercriminals can then make their way through the system to gain access to personal information, which is sold. To avoid the damage, schedule regular employee seminars on cyber security, and ensure your system requires multi-factor authentication.

Your Business Insurance and Cyber Crime

If your company is the victim of a data breach, it is a disaster. It is imperative that you have the protection provided by your business insurance. Many businesses, to protect against risk, add cyber insurance to their business insurances to protect against the extreme financial losses of a data breach. You can speak with one of our local business insurance agents to discuss your options to determine the right types of coverage to protect your business assets.