Bad actor

Updated: 05/06/2024 by Computer Hope
Cyber crime

A bad actor is a person, group, or country intentionally engaging in a computer crime or performing other malicious acts. For example, someone who carries out a DDoS attack in an attempt to take down a website is considered a bad actor. Even if that person is doing the attack as part of hacktivism, they're still considered a bad actor because they're intentionally attempting to damage another person's property.

Bad actors often target vulnerabilities in operating systems or software to access to a personal or business computer or network. Known or zero-day vulnerabilities are exploited, allowing a bad actor to steal information or cause damage.

Some bad actors utilize brute-force attacks to attempt to access to another computer or network, or they try to take down a company's network to cause chaos.

Well-known bad actors

There are many bad actors, individuals and groups, that gained notoriety over the years for hacking government agencies, military groups, and large companies. Below are several well-known bad actors and what they did to become notorious.

  • Anonymous - Formed in 2003, a group of international hackers that engineered attacks against the Arab Spring, New York Stock Exchange, and the Texas Republican Party. Also conducted DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against government agencies and websites around the world.
  • Kevin Mitnick- Hacked NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in 1982.
  • LulzSec - Executed DDoS, SQL (Structured Query Language) injection, and XSS (cross-site scripting) attacks against companies and government agencies in 2011. Their targets included the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), Sony, United States Senate, and multiple video gaming companies.
  • Matthew Bevan & Richard Pryce - Hacked military bases and organizations in 1996, including the Defense Information System Agency and Griffiss Air Force Base. They were unofficially blamed for almost starting World War 3 after dumping secret research documentation from the Korean Atomic Research Institute on United States military servers.

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