Cyberattacks come in numerous forms, and so do the hackers that launch them. Learning about different kinds of hackers not only gives you insight into their goals and inclinations, but also enables you to identify what kind of attacks might be launched against you so that you can better defend yourself. Here are five types of hackers you should know about.
Considered as small-time crooks in the hacking community, script kiddies often cause no real harm and have very limited hacking skills. They simply copy lines of code from other sources and use them for viruses that do little damage. Their lack of real hacking abilities means they can’t make money, and their hacks range from website defacement to DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.
White Hat Hackers (or simply White Hats)
They are hackers with ethics. white hats do not use their skills for anything malicious. Instead, they use hacking as a means to find vulnerabilities in a system and fix them.
In some cases, white hats are hired by companies to perform system security tests. With the authorization of their employer, white hats test-hack a system to see what flaws it has and then recommend certain actions to make it secure and less prone to hacking.
Black Hat Hackers
They are the complete opposite of white hats in that their only motivation is either personal or monetary gain. Black hats are the kind of hackers responsible for the string of cyberattacks that made waves in 2017.
Black hats are not picky when it comes to choosing victims. As long as they can get something from the hack, they’ll do it. They hit regular citizens, large companies like hospitals and banks, and even government officials and entities. Basically anyone who can be hacked is a potential target.
Grey Hat Hackers
Things are never just black or white, and hacking is no exception. Enter the grey hats—hackers who aren’t altruistic enough to be called white hats, but also aren’t driven by money as black hats are. Mostly, they do it for fun.
Grey hats are named so because although they do not steal, blackmail, or hold information for ransom, they do commit acts that most would consider unethical. An example of this would be hacking into a company’s system, discovering a weakness, and then publishing it for the public instead of informing the company behind closed doors.
In a sense, hacktivists are also grey hats. However, there is a distinct difference between the two. While grey hats often just seek enjoyment, hacktivists have more meaningful motivations such as social injustices, political ideologies, or vigilantism.
The aim of hacktivists it to go after people or organizations they think have wronged others in anyway and expose their wrongdoing for all the world to see. Even though what they are doing is technically still illegal, hacktivists believe that it is for the greater good.
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