State actors are some of the most dangerous types of threat actors. They are often highly sophisticated and work with the support of other governmental organizations. They have large quantities of resources provided to them by their government, allowing them to employ skilled hackers, not only to conduct attacks, but to search for vulnerabilities to develop into cyberweapons.
State actors are also highly motivated, working on behalf of a nation-state. If they decide to target an individual or organization, they have a specific objective in mind and will work very hard to complete that objective while remaining undetected, even in the face of adversity. Failure or detection might cause them to retreat, but likely won’t dissuade them from their objective.
State actors’ motivations are based on what benefits the state they work for. They may attempt to spy on foreign nations, conduct cyber warfare, defend their nation against other threat actors, spy on journalists, or whatever else the state commands of them.
State actors are a quintessential example of an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT): they have advanced capabilities and access to resources and are difficult to dissuade from their objective.