There have been numerous attempts to achieve a typology of perpetrators, their classification categories ranging from two to no more than 26. Criteria for delineation of these types are mainly two: the motivations of authors and their legal consequences. The second criterion makes a distinction between actions that are aimed at causing damage or an undue advantage, and justified the actions of curiosity, or explained by educational reasons. This distinction would legitimize such actions of “hacking”, which is unacceptable.
Returning to the first criterion for distinguishing, the authors have defined several reasons. Thus, Direction de Surveillance de Territoire from France proposed distinction between playful threats (hackers, etc.), the greedy (financial gain, etc.), and strategic (intelligence, and so on). Three American authors suggest a more complex analysis based on the determinants of criminal conduct, involving motivational elements (having personal characteristics – for economic, ideological, self-centered or psychotic), elements of opportunity (ie environmental features – access to criminal groups, social rewards, different ethics, trust group), means and methods.
John D. Howard proposes the following six categories of authors:
- hackers – people, especially young people, entering the systems of reasons mostly related to intellectual challenge, or achieve and maintain a certain status in the community of friends;
- spies – people who penetrate computer systems to obtain information enabling political gains;
- terrorists – people who get into computer systems in order to produce fear for political purposes;
- attackers for economic purposes – penetrate the computer systems of competition, in order to obtain financial gain;
- professional criminals – enter the computer systems of businesses to obtain financial gain, for personal interest;
- vandals – people who penetrate computer systems in order to cause damage.