The term Hacker is inherently misused and not fully understood. Whenever people hear the word hacker, they immediately visualise a stereotypical 1980’s movie where a hacker is an evil criminal who is conspiring against the people and the government. In reality, a hacker is a highly skilled computer user who manipulates and bypasses computer systems to make them do the unintended. Hacking itself isn’t illegal unless a hacker has malicious intent and is trying to breach the defenses and exploit weaknesses of a system without the authorised permission.
The classification of Hacker types comes from the old-timey Western cowboy movies where the good guy usually wears a white hat and the villain dons a black one. Thus hackers are metaphorically classified on the basis of their hats.
Black Hat type of Hackers – Unethical
A Black hat Hacker type is a computer expert who finds vulnerabilities in internet security and willfully vandalizes them for their own personal gain. They are motivated by feelings of power (such as infecting a computer with ransomware and then demanding money to unlock the device) and petty revenge (some hackers target the companies they don’t like and exploit their vulnerabilities to disrupt or shut down the company only for their frivolous reasons).
Black-hats type of hackers may be looking for any type of private information that might garner them some money such as Credit card numbers, Passwords, Emails and, Bank account data.
Hence this hacker type is called as criminals with no ethics, and might even break into a computer network not to steal information, but rather to destroy.
Grey Hat type of Hackers – Confused
Grey hat hacker type are less skilled compared to the black hats or white hats are a blend of both kinds of hackers. These type of hackers are often technology hobbyists that enjoy dabbling in minor white-collar crimes such as P2P file sharing and cracking software. They report their findings to the companies/organizations, if the owner does not respond or refuses to pay them, they might post about the system’s weakness on online forums for the world to see.
This type of hacker people don’t necessarily work with malicious intent, they just search for vulnerabilities and bugs in a system in order to gain a small fee for discovering the issue. Nonetheless, the hacker type attempt to compromise a security system without permission and that is illegal.
White Hat type of Hackers – Ethical
White hat type of Hackers use their capabilities for good and legal purpose, hence they are the contrasting personalities of black hats. They are usually paid employees or contractors that companies hire to test the weak spots in their Security systems. These type of Ethical Hackers simulate attacks by imitating a malicious user or black hat and help identify the vulnerabilities and determine how they can improve the security measures.
White Hat type of Hackers exploit completely Authorized and Legal form of hacking because they perform penetration testing, test in-place security systems and vulnerability assessments for companies by taking permission from the owner first and report all their findings to the security team.
Today’s scenario among the types of Hackers
According to experts, Black hat type of Hackers have more advanced hacking skills and are more experienced as compared to that of most white hat type of Hackers. Many former black hats have turned their life around and now work for firms to ensure their safety from data breach and other security threats.
Ethical Hacking is increasingly required as a preventive measure to ensure malicious hackers are not successful in their efforts to access computer systems. Continuous penetration testing and Red Team-Blue team exercises are performed by companies to analyse and identify weak spots, and to refine the security of their systems before the black hats Hacker types can exploit them.