Hacker is a term loosely used to signify any individual or group who are spying on the Internet for the purpose of criminal activity – fraud, extortion, identity theft. But, in fact, hacker is a wider term than just that. These sweeping generalizations are what take potential professionals away from it. To understand what the term signifies, we need to know in detail about the different types of hackers, yes there is a good the bad and the ones in between.
What’s White Hat Hacker
White Hat Hackers are the ‘good’ part of the entire hacker community. These hackers are generally employed to act like the bad guys and find any loopholes in the system that might be vulnerable to attacks. They seek knowledge and like to understand how things work and then they attempt to play with. In other terms, they reverse engineer ransomware and extortion attacks to develop the keys. So, a white hat or ethical hacker is a lot like a bad hacker, with a similar skill set and technique, but one who is working for the good guys to help solve any national or company issues. There are a lot of professional courses if you are ever interested in becoming an ethical hacker.
Define Black Hat Hacker
Black Hat Hacker is simply the opposite of what a White Hat hacker’s profile is. These are the bad guys, the guys who are busy writing malicious software or breaking into your computers or websites. They are the ones who sell ransomware as a service or offer DDoS attacks for an hourly price. And yes, these are the guys that are the actual ‘hackers’ that the media has created a perception about. The work done by Black Hat hackers is solely to cause harm to potential victims and extort money or destroy software in their devices. Essentially, Black Hat hackers are those that violate cyber security for malicious purposes, resulting in data theft or financial loss for those who are affected.
Who is a Grey Hat Hacker
As the color goes, the role of a Grey Hat lies between what a Black Hat and what a White Hat hacker does. Essentially, these are flexible professional hackers, available for most work for a fee. For instance, a Grey Hat hacker will help a national institution in catching their attackers for an amount. On the other hand, he will also take up a project to hack into organizations for the benefit of the ones on the attacking side, once again for a fee. Then again, he may exploit a vulnerability and then brings it to the notice of the organization. The point here is that it is illegal to hack into anyone’s device without permission, so Grey Hat hackers are somewhere on the line, dangling between the good and the bad.
And then again, there are other types:
- A Green Hat Hacker or a Script Kiddie is one who has just entered the profession and is considered a newbie.
- A Blue Hat Hacker hacks for fun or to get revenge.
- A Red Hat hacker is employed by one government to hack and bring down websites and online services of another country.
While the perception of a hacker is vividly about a notorious criminal sitting in front of a lone computer, due to the media, it is usually quite the opposite. Even Black Hat hackers are professionals in nature, and will rarely go beyond the point of breaching national security or matters of that intensity. Despite that, there were over 56,000 ransomware infections in the month of March 2016 alone. Hundreds of millions of accounts were exposed across the globe. The supply of White Hat hackers is much less than the bad guys, and a lot more awareness in academic institutions is needed to get more people on the good side in large volumes.