Information Security Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for information security professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When building a security policy (and implementing it) you must know who you are defending against. I would like to use proper terms, if they're already defined. I'm imagining a list such as:

  • Passive attackers - Those who aren't interested in you specifically but might intercept your data (like the NSA if it doesn't have an interest in you)
  • Uninterested attackers - Those that aren't interested in you in particular, but are actively testing your defenses. I would classify automated SSH attacks and port scans in this category (looking for easy targets, etc).
  • Active, interested attackers - People actively trying to break your security to get inside the network. Pentesters or someone you pissed off in IRC.

That's all I have. Is it enough, or is there a level of finnese I've missed? Is there any group of attackers I've completely forgot about?

share|improve this question
This might be of interest, although a bit too "academic" to fit into corporate policy somehow – rath Sep 12 '13 at 1:43
the NSA doesn't have an interest in you, they did try, but its just not working out – this.josh Sep 12 '13 at 6:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Plenty of taxonomies already exist. If you're writing and implementing a security policy, following an ISO 27000 nomenclature may prove convenient.

In any case, Wikipedia got a pretty exhaustive list of various standard listing threats to IT infrastructure, of which attackers are only a subset.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.