The Different Types of Hackers You Should Know About
Most days in the news, we hear about a new hacker issue causing trouble around the world, or a different type of specific threat that’s growing. However, consumers should also realize that there are many different types of hackers out there who aren’t all bad. You should make sure you’re up to date on the ins and outs in this area.
Black Hat Hackers
As a consumer, the first main type of hacker you must know about is the black hat hacker. This is the cybercriminal who’s out to profit in some malicious way from data breaches, whether through financial or other personal gains. They usually steal information but can also modify, destroy, or hold details for ransom, depending on their goals and skills.
Black hat hackers are the ones who conduct illegal, unauthorized cyberattacks on people’s and organizations' systems to steal information to use some way for a profit. Often with extensive knowledge of how to break into networks and bypass security protocols, black hat hackers are regularly involved in cyber espionage, and many write their own malware. It is this type of hacker you must carefully protect yourself from. Utilize quality smart device managers and set up hard-to-crack passwords on your tech gear, for instance, to stay safe.
White Hat Hackers
On the other hand, white hat hackers operate very differently. As their name suggests, they’re out to do good rather than harm. Also known as “ethical hackers,” they work to protect organizations and individuals from security risks and go about things in an open, honest, upfront manner.
Companies and government departments regularly hire white hat hackers to find holes in digital systems so they can be patched, and black hat hackers kept at bay. These cybercriminals actually often use the same hacking methods as black hatters, but unlike their dark counterparts, they have permission from the owners of systems to test for gaps in security. As such, the process is legal.
Gray Hat Hackers
Gray hat hackers fall somewhere between white hat and black hat hackers in their intentions and behavior. While they don’t usually use their computer skills for personal gain, they can have both good and bad intentions and do things they’re not legally authorized to do. Gray hat hackers are often ambitious people who like to challenge themselves by breaking into tough systems. They regularly search for and exploit security vulnerabilities in company and government systems.
For instance, while they may not gain personally from hacking into an organization, they might also cause havoc by leaking the information they find or sharing details on the steps they took to break in on a public forum. Sometimes they might also tell the company involved that they have been able to hack into what was believed to be a secure system. Gray hat hackers also sometimes ask organizations for a small payment to fix the security gaps found during their break-ins.
Green Hat Hackers
Green hat hackers are the amateurs in the cyber world, so named for their “green” status as newbies who still have a lot to learn and a long way to grow. Curious to build their knowledge and skillset, these hackers hope to one day become full-blown hackers and spend considerable time involved in forums and other digital communities where they can ask more established hackers for tips and techniques.
Blue Hat Hackers
Another type of hacker you certainly don’t want to get on the radar of is the blue hat hacker. These people are vengeful and aggressive and want to take revenge on those who make them angry. Blue hat hackers often modify the existing code for viruses and malware they online to suit their own, individual needs. They go after businesses, groups, or individuals they feel wronged by in some way. Unless you do something to make a skilled person in this mindset angry, though, you shouldn’t find yourself the target of one of their attacks. It is all personal for blue hat hackers.
“Script kiddies” is the phrase used to describe a particular type of hacker who is reckless, still new to the world of hacking, and who mainly wants to make a big mess for others. These hackers like to cause a nuisance and typically rely on existing tools to access and then deface webpages and other online content.
Script kiddies aren’t people who care much about learning the ins and outs of coding; instead, they prefer to use off-the-shelf products and launch attacks without worrying about the quality of these attacks. They’re more focused on gaining attention and impressing others.
With news report after news report talking about cybercriminal workings these days, it’s natural to feel scared about the possibility of facing one of these digital attacks. However, the more information you have, the better off you’ll be, and the less stress you need to feel.
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