What is a hacker?
A hacker, in the Cybersecurity world, is someone who uses their skills with malicious intent to breach security measures. Hackers do more than gain unauthorised access to a computer system; they also explore software limits and search for advanced protection solutions.
Hacktivist and the act of hacktivism
Hacktivists are cyber criminals who gather together to launch cyber attacks in support of political causes. They typically target entire industries but sometimes attack specific organisations they believe are not aligned with their political views.
Hacktivism is typically motivated by a desire to right a perceived wrong or injustice. Hacktivists may be motivated influenced by revenge, political or social incentives, ideology, protest and/or a desire to embarrass certain organisations or individuals within those organisations.
Hacktivist groups worldwide exist, all working toward different goals of disrupting or exposing the inner workings of government or private organisations in the name of transparency and the public good. "Anonymous" is probably the most famous of these types of hacktivist groups.
In 2008, a group of hackers known as “Anonymous” were brought to light through their exposure of the Church of Scientology, where by Anonymous leaked a video involving Tom Cruise onto YouTube. This action led executives at the Church to request that the video be taken down. Anonymous then retaliated by launching a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that took down the Church’s website.
Types of hacker
The term ‘hacker’ is typically associated with a ‘hat’ system where hackers are categorised as either good (white hat) or bad (black hat). The origin of this style of naming is likely derived from old cowboy film culture where the protagonist wore white hats and the antagonist wore black hats.
White Hat Hacker
A white hat hacker is a security specialist who only hacks systems when legally permitted. They consult with the vendor whose software or hardware is affected, so they can fix other customers' systems. A white hat hacker is an ethical hacker and they will disclose the vulnerability to the public or organisation so they can fix their own systems.
It is very common for white hat hackers to work for companies and take on roles such as a Cybersecurity Engineer, Security Analyst, CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), and other positions related to information security.
Black Hat Hacker
Black hat hackers are people who search for vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks, and then exploit them to steal information or cause damage. Black hat hackers can be motivated by money, the thrill of breaking laws, or just plain mischief. Black hats use techniques for getting into systems just like white hats. However, they don’t use their defensive skills – rather, they up their game on the attack by doing things such as:
- Creating backdoors, phishing emails and malicious links
- Installing malware into computers and devices without the owner’s consent
- Download sensitive/private information that does not belong to them.
Grey Hat Hacker
Grey-hat hackers are the middle ground between white-hat and black-hat hackers. The term "grey hat hacker" refers to someone who may be both good and bad. They don't break into systems but don't perform any other illegal activity like black hat hackers.
They have an understanding of the law and technology, but also exploit security vulnerabilities without malicious intent. They may even deliberately make the vulnerabilities public or sell details about them to people who want to exploit them. They may hack with or without permission from their targets.
Red Hat Hacker
A red hat hacker is a vigilante computer expert who fights against an unfairness they want to change, as such, they share many parallels with hacktavists.Red hat hackers aren’t inherently malicious, but they are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the injustices that they are fighting against. This might include launching targeted cyberattacks on specific organisations and/or people who they believe are contributing to this inequality.
Red hat hackers have also been known to go up against black hat hackers. However, unlike white hats—who hand black hats over to law enforcement—red hats launch aggressive cyberattacks against black hats in order to disarm them.
Blue Hat Hacker
A subgroup of white hat hackers whose job is finding bugs and security issues in software before a big launch. Like white hat hackers, Blue hat hackers use their hacking knowledge to improve cybersecurity measures, not bypassing them. But blue hat hackers are usually outsourced.
Alternatively, a hacker seeking revenge can sometimes be referred to as a "blue hat" hacker. Unlike a black hat hacker, who works with criminal intent, or a white hat hacker, who seeks to stop cybercriminals, blue hat hackers work with the purpose of avenging someone — usually a person or country — by using illegal methods.
Green Hat Hacker
Green hat hackers are new to the world of cyberattacks. They may be malicious or trying to defend against attacks, but they can cause damage either way. New hackers have little understanding of what they're doing, so they might try out various techniques and use all kinds of malware without realising the consequences of their actions.
Difference between Script Kiddies and Green hat hacker
Green Hat Hacker
Script kiddies are newcomers to the world of hacking, and they act differently from green hat hackers.
Green hat hackers is a term used to describe beginning hackers who are eager to learn and develop their skills.
Script kiddies simply buy all the hacking tools they need and use them for their own purposes.
For example, script kiddies will use malware-as-a-service and similar models to hack their targets.
Green hat hackers uses beginner and off-the shelf softwares to written by other software developers.
Script kiddies have only a basic understanding of the field of hacking, they may only view online articles or instructional videos. So they have far less knowledge than a green hat
Green hats are more skilled than script kiddies because they have actually learned at least a little about hacking.
Key Takeaway: The color of the hat is a metaphor for the hacker's intent. Each type of hacker has different motives and desires.
We hope this post has helped clear a few things up and provides insight into the world of hacking in all its colours! Our job at Overt software solutions is that of White Hat hackers: to keep all the other hackers out of your business by providing SSO solutions to protect your assets and data.
If you want to know how we can help your business or learn more about how to protect yourselves from malicious attackers, contact our success team for more information about our SSO and LMS products.