What is the Differences between Threat Actor, Hacker and Attacker?

What is the difference? Don’t they all mean the same thing? The truth of the matter is that they don’t, and many times they are used incorrectly in reporting a breach or cybersecurity incident.

Threat Actor:

A threat actor, also called a malicious actor, is an entity that is partially or wholly responsible for a security incident that impacts – or has the potential to impact – an organization’s security.


In computing, a hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. While “hacker” can refer to any computer programmer, the term has become associated in popular culture with a “security hacker”, someone who, with their technical knowledge, uses bugs or exploits to break into computer systems.


In computer and computer networks, an attack is any attempt to destroy, expose, alter, disable, steal or gain unauthorized access to or make unauthorized use of an asset.” Thus, an attacker is the individual or organization performing these malicious activities.

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The above content is retrieved from Cybersecurity PRISM (Cybersecurity Prism).