Hackers\u2014and the malware they build and use\u2014have 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 \u2014 maybe they would create a bit of silly malware that did little more than flash \u201cLegalize Marijuana!\u201d or play Yankee Doodle\u00a0across 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\u2019s 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 robberOnce 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\u2019s a story as old as humanity.2. The nation-stateToday, most sophisticated nations have thousands\u2014if not tens of thousands\u2014of skilled hackers on the payroll. Their job? Sneak behind enemy lines at other nations\u2019 military and industrial networks to map assets and install malicious back doors. That way, when hostilities happen, the cyberwarfare machine will be ready.Stuxnet, which took down hundreds of Iranian centrifuges, is the poster child for cyberwarfare. North Korea\u2019s 2014 hack into Sony Pictures site in retaliation for a movie the country\u2019s propaganda machine found offensive is equally notorious. These are just the big stories. Nation-state hacking happens all the time, mostly quietly, and it isn\u2019t going anywhere. The attacking nation certainly won\u2019t do anything to prevent it or punish the hackers because they are soldiers doing their job to further that country\u2019s objectives.3. The corporate spyFor many hackers, a day in the office involves stealing corporate intellectual property, either to resell for personal profit or to further the objectives of the nation state that employs them. A common type of corporate espionage is to steal secret patents, future business plans, financial data, contracts, health data, and even the notes of legal disputes. Anything that gives competitors a leg up on the hacked organization is fair game. Every once in a while, corporate espionage gets exposed\u00a0when the competitor who was offered the illegal information reports it to the victimized company and\/or authorities.4. The professional hacking group for hireThis is a relatively recent phenomenon where a group of expert hackers develop, buy or steal powerful malware and offer advanced-persistent-threat (APT) services to target their skills and tools for a fee. The goal might be financial gain, disrupting a competitor or enemy, or theft of valuable data or intellectual property. Their clients might be nation-states, companies interested in corporate espionage, or other criminal groups looking to resell what the hackers steal.One mercenary group, known as Deathstalker, targets organizations that work in or with the financial sector including law offices, wealth consultancy firms and financial technology companies. They are known to be active in Asia, Europe, and South America. The group uses PowerShell-based malware called Powersing delivered via spear-phishing campaigns. This malware can capture information such as login credentials and execute other malicious PowerShell scripts.5. The rogue gamerYou might consider your teenager\u2019s gaming habit nothing more than an obstacle to good grades. For millions of people, though, gaming is a serious business. It has spawned an industry that\u2019s worth billions of dollars. Some gamers spend thousands of dollars on cutting-edge, high-performance hardware. They spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours annually playing games. Is it any surprise, then, that the gaming industry has its own specialized hackers? They steal their competitors' credit caches, or cause anti-competitive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.6. Cryptojackers: The resource vampiresHarnessing other people\u2019s computing power is a trick that hackers\u2014and legitimate endeavors\u2014have used since computers first started landing on the desks of the masses. In the early days, hackers used other people\u2019s hard drives to store large files such as videos. For years, SETI enlisted volunteers to install a screen saver that harnessed the CPU power of the many to help search for alien life.The biggest reason hackers steal computer resources today is to \u201cmine\u201d cryptocurrencies. Illegitimate cryptominers, known as \u201ccryptojackers\u201d, spread malware\u2014either by directly exploiting browser visitors or by infecting the websites they visit, which then mine cryptocurrencies for them. This steals resources such as electricity and computer processing power from victims. Cryptojackers often can\u2019t pay for these resources and profit from mining cryptocurrency, so they steal it. Many legitimate employees have been fired for distributing unauthorized miners across company computers.7. The hacktivistsHackivists use hacking to make a political statement or promote social change. They either want to steal embarrassing information from a victim company, cause operational issues for the company, or wreak havoc that will cost the victim company money or bring attention to the hacktivist\u2019s cause. The Anonymous collective is one famous hackivist group. They are the authors of one of my favorite hacktivist attacks: Using an operation named Darknet, they not only identified and exposed multiple child porn sites but also named names by exposing their members.Many otherwise well-meaning, law-abiding people get caught up with hacktivist goals and crimes, though, and end up getting arrested. Despite their well-meaning intentions, they can be prosecuted for the same crimes as hackers with less noble motives. If you tie yourself to a tree or a submarine, you will probably just get probation. Hack something? You will very likely to go to jail.8. The botnet mastersMany malware coders create bots, which they send out into the world to infect as many computers as they can. The goal is to form large botnet armies that will do their evil bidding. Once your computer becomes their minion, it sits waiting for instruction from its master. These instructions usually come from command-and-control (C&C) servers. The botnet can be used directly by the botnet creator but more often that master rents it out to whoever wants to pay. \u00a0These days, botnets made up of the Mirai bot, which attacks routers, cameras and other IoT devices, are very popular. A Mirai botnet was used to generate one of the largest DDoS attacks in history, on the DNS provider Dyn. It generated 1.2 TBpS of malicious traffic. The Mirai bot looks for unpatched devices and devices that haven\u2019t changed their default logon credentials\u2014IoT devices are often an easy target\u2014and easily installs itself. According to some experts, one-fifth of the world\u2019s computers have been part of a botnet army.9. The adware spammerYou\u2019re lucky if your company is only\u00a0compromised by a spam malware program or your browser is only\u00a0hijacked by an adware program that is looking to sell you something. Adware works by redirecting your browser to a site you did not intend to go to. Perhaps you were searching for \u201ccats\u201d and the adware program sent you instead to \u201ccamping gear.\u201dMany legitimate companies are surprised to learn that their own online marketing campaigns are using spam and adware. I have seen this happen when a company hires an online media specialist who guarantees a high response rate without stipulating how. Sometimes, legitimate companies\u2014such as Cingular, Travelocity, and Priceline\u2014have intentionally engaged adware purveyors\u00a0and have been made to pay legal settlements as a result.Spam and adware might not seem like a huge threat, but it can be a symptom of a serious system leak. These tools find their way through unpatched software, social engineering, and other means that are the same methods more serious threats, like backdoor Trojans and ransomware, use to get in.10. The thrill hackerMost hackers work with a financial goal in mind, have a boss with malicious motives, or are trying to achieve a political goal. A class of hacker remains who is in it for the thrill. They may want to demonstrate\u2014to themselves and perhaps an online community\u2014what they can do. There aren\u2019t as many of these as there once were because hacking\u2014whatever the motive\u2014breaks laws and prosecution is a real possibility.Today\u2019s sport hacker is often most interested in hardware hacking. The appearance of general-purpose hardware hacking kits, with chips, circuits, and jump wires (like Raspberry Pi kits), have steadily increased the public\u2019s interest in hacking hardware as a sport. There are even hardware hacking websites\u00a0created for kids.11. The accidental hackerLastly, some hackers are more like tourists than serious miscreants. Perhaps they have some technical ability but never intentionally set out to hack anything. Then one day they come across a website with a glaring coding error. Fascinated by the puzzle it presents, they begin to play at hacking in. To their own surprise, they discover it was as easy as it looked.History is full of people who happened upon, for example, a website that used easily guessable numbers in the URL to identify customers. Accidental hackers can sometimes have a hard time reporting their finding to the company without getting themselves in trouble. The accidental hacker might find they have committed illegal crimes after starting out merely solving a puzzle. Most security professionals in the business of fighting serious hackers feel that innocent hackers should not be prosecuted as long as they report it to the unprotected company.