If you watch the news etc and are familiar with today's technology terms, you must have heard about hackers. But you may not realize that there are different categories of hackers which are called black hat, white hat and gray hat hackers.

Actually, the main thing that distinguishes between the different types of hackers is to see that what motivates them, and whether they are breaking any law.

In today's post, we will talk about different types of hackers.

What Is A Black Hat Hacker?

Black hat hackers are criminals who try to break into computer networks with malicious intent. They can also inject viruses into computers and devices that can destroy your files, take your computer hostage, steal your passwords, credit card numbers and other information.

Black hat hackers have their own personal reasons for hacking, such as financial gain, revenge, or causing harm for no reason. Sometimes their motive may be ideological, for example, they want to harm someone with whom they disagree on an issue.

Black hat hackers usually start out as an inexperienced 'script kiddie' (someone who is inexperienced and uses hacking tools built by someone) and tries to breach security.

Some are trained by bosses who want to make a quick buck. Leading hackers prefer to gain more experience and work for organized crime organizations that offer them contracts for services like any legitimate business and support them in purchasing various tools.

Generally on Dark Web, Black Hat malware kits that are sold, do include customer service and warranty. Black hat hackers often specialize in one area, such as tools for managing phishing and remote access.

Many hackers get their "jobs" from various dark web forums and other sources. There are some who create and sell hacking software themselves. But some black hat hackers are those who prefer to work for any franchise like any legitimate business.

Hacking has become a tool for gathering intelligence for various governments, but most black hat hackers prefer to make easy money by working alone or in association with an organized crime organization.

How Do Black Hat Hackers Work?

Hacking works like any big business, making it easy to distribute malicious software. Some black hat hacking organizations also have their own call centers from which they make calls to other companies. With the help of calls, they pretend to be representatives of any famous technology company such as Microsoft.

In this type of fraud, the hacker tries to convince his potential "victim" to give him remote access to his computer, or to download software from a link he provides.

The potential "victim" of a hacker may unwittingly give the hacker access to their passwords and other banking information by giving the hacker access to their computer or by downloading software recommended by the hacker, or the hacker may have access to their computer and attacks other systems with its help. To add more insult to the injury, the potential victim is charged a fee for this "assistance".

Other hacks are faster and more automated, and do not involve human intervention. In these cases, attack bots roam the Internet to find vulnerable computers to infiltrate. Often these attacks are carried out through phishing, malicious files, or links to insecure websites.

Black hat hacking is a global problem, and its universality makes it difficult to stop. The challenges for law enforcement agencies are that hackers often leave little evidence, use the computers of unsuspecting victims, and cross multiple jurisdictions.

While the authorities may somehow shut down a hacking website in one country, the hackers are still operating in another country at the same time.

Example Of Black Hat Hackers

One of the world's most famous black hat hackers named Kevin Mitnick was once the most wanted cyber criminal in the world. As a black hat hacker, he hacked into the systems of many large corporations including IBM, Motorola, and even the US National Defense warning system.

He was eventually arrested and served time in prison. When he was released from prison, he became a cyber security expert, and began using his hacking knowledge for white hat hacking purposes.

What Is A White Hat Hacker?

White hat hackers, who are often called Ethical Hackers or Good Hackers, work opposite to the black hat hackers. They hack into systems to identify vulnerabilities in their security and then make recommendations to improve them.

These hackers use their skills to expose security system flaws to protect the organization from malicious hacker attacks. They may be full-time employees of companies and may also work as security specialists on contract basis.

We see that the websites of big companies are rarely down, or their websites rarely have problems. A big reason for this is white hat hackers.

Most hackers know that it is very difficult to break into the systems of large companies. In comparison, since companies do not have the resources to monitor the systems of smaller companies, it is easier to break into their systems.

How Do White Hat Hackers Work?

White hat hackers use the same hacking methods as black hat hackers, but the main difference here is that white hat hackers have permission from the system owner to hack the system. And this thing legitimizes the whole process.

Rather than exploiting vulnerabilities in systems, white-hat hackers work with network operators to fix the vulnerabilities, so they can be removed before anyone else finds out. Features of white hat hackers include the following:

  • Social Engineering
  • Penetration Testing
  • Reconnaissance and Research
  • Programming
  • Use of different physical and digital tools

White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers

The main difference between the two is motivation and intention. While black hat hackers hack into systems illegally, maliciously or for personal gain, white hat hackers work with companies to find vulnerabilities in their systems and fix them accordingly. They do this to ensure that black hat hackers cannot gain illegal entry into the system.

Example Of White Hat Hackers

Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the world-wide-web, is an important part of the world of white-hat hacking. Today he serves as director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and oversees development of the Web.

What Is A Gray Hat Hacker?

Somewhere between white hat and black hat are Gray Hat hackers. Gray hat hackers perform the activities of both white hat and black hat hackers. Gray hat hackers often find out about the flaws in any system by entering without permission.

If an error is found, they report it to the system owner, and sometimes charge some fee to fix the problem.

Some gray hat hackers think they are doing a good job for companies by breaking into their websites and networks without their permission. But company owners don't like unauthorized access to their systems.

It is often the case that most gray-hat hackers hack just to show off their skills, or to gain recognition and fame, and thus think that they are improving cyber security.

Gray hat hackers may sometimes violate laws or normal ethical standards, but their intent is not as malicious as that of black hat hackers.

When a white hat hacker discovers a vulnerability, they will only exploit it with permission and will not tell others about it until it is fixed. In contrast, black hat hackers will also exploit system vulnerabilities and teach others how to do the same.

While a gray hat hacker will neither exploit it illegally nor tell anyone else how to do it.

Many Gray Hats believe that the Internet is not safe for individual users and companies, and they make it their mission to make it safe for others.

They do this by hacking websites and networks and causing chaos to show the world that they are right (that the Internet is insecure). Gray-hat hackers claim that their intrusions are not intended to harm anyone.

Sometimes they try to hack into a large system by flouting privacy and other laws.

How Do Gray Hat Hackers Work?

When a gray hat hacker gains illegal access to a system, he suggests to the system administrator that the hacker himself or a friend be hired to fix the problem. However, since companies see fit to sue against such attacks, this ploy no longer succeeds.

Some companies encourage gray-hat hackers to be rewarded if they find a bug in their system, called a bug bounty program. A reward is placed for finding a flaw in the system to deter hackers from exploiting the system.

But that's not always the case, so hacking with company permission can keep hackers under the law.

Sometimes if companies don't respond or cooperate with gray hat hackers, they turn into black hat hackers and share information about the system's weak points on the internet or exploit it themselves.

Gray Hat vs White Hat Hackers

The key difference between gray hat hackers and white hat hackers is that if a company decides to ignore a gray hat hacker, the hacker is not bound by ethical hacking laws or an employment contract. Instead, he either exploits the system himself or spreads information about it on the Internet so that other hackers can exploit it.

Example Of Gray Hat Hackers

An often-cited example of a gray-hat hacker occurred in August 2013, when Khalil Shariat, an unemployed computer security researcher, hacked Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page. His purpose in doing this was to force action to fix a bug he had discovered. This bug allowed him to post on any user's page without their permission.

He reported the issue to Facebook management, who responded that it was not a bug.

After the incident, Facebook fixed the vulnerability that could have been a powerful weapon in the hands of professional spammers. Khalil was not compensated by Facebook's White Hat program because he violated their policies.

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