Whenever this topic comes up, people get jitters and I mean real ones. Either you want to become one of the hackers or, you are afraid. One has to triumph the other but for most people, the latter – fear, is the cause for all the jitters. More often that not, hackers are misunderstood. Yes, you got me right there! Movies has helped a lot in this and as a result, everyone thinks that anyone out there is a goon ready to cannibalize your computer using, well his computer. They want to hack you and make your life miserable or, you want to hack someone and make their life miserable.
For starters, there are many types of hackers and each has their weaknesses and strengths. There are those who have a tingly feeling at the back of their heads when they sit behind a monitor. There are those who copy-paste everything that is worth copy-pasting and get caught. Most importantly, it is important to note that what you see in the movies 95% of the times is highly exaggerated. You will not find a 12 year old kid who learnt computers one year ago hacking NASA today. That will just not happen.
I’ll let you in on something else that will not happen: you don’t hack a system and get away with millions of cash in one night – it takes time and planning. Let this article be a light in this often confusing world: hackers demystified.
The best way to start us off is giving you what you expect already – the most popular type of hacker. From there, I’ll move to the least known and of course, the least experienced. The first four categories cannot easily be classified on who is better than whom why? Because hacking heavily depends on finding a weakness in a system. If the person installing the systems in the first place is good enough, you will have a hard time regardless of who you are. Of course, there is more than meets the eye on matters hacking but that, that is an article for a different day. Getting right into it… the hacker hats (types).
If you ever by any chance realize you got hacked, your bank accounts are empty pits or your computers aren’t working right – these are the hackers to blame, unless you authorized it.
Black hats are hackers who strive to go against every (or some) laws for the sole benefits of benefiting themselves or their clients and without the authority to hack the systems. You hear the news of a bank being drained and money transferred to some funny, untraceable account – this is your kind of hacker. I will say this with at most discretion; unless there is really, really a legitimate reason to hack a fellow or organization please don’t be a black hat. You can always get the money other ways. But I also have to say, Black hats serve their purpose. They are the DeadPools’ of the computer world – there are people and organizations out there who deserve the hack.
Hannibal Lecter could serve as a splendid analogy of this kind of hacker. These hackers are good and bad, and most often than not are on the negative. They have the capability to help an entity instead of hack them. Sometimes they’ll help but sometimes, they get that tingly feeling at the back of their heads I was talking about. You could find such a person working at a cyber security firm and during work hours, they are angels. They go as per the books, well during work hours. In their free time, as depicted in the movies mostly at night, mutate into black hats.
Nothing in this world is black and white – there are always shades of gray.
When ever you run into an actual problem, you want to call Captain America not Batman, right? You want someone you can trust won’t divert from the main aim of the call – a person who goes by the books. White hats are hackers who are allowed by applicable law to practice in the cyber security field and, perform hacks on systems they don’t own only when authorized by the owners of such a system. Most turn into gray hats, and it is definitely hard to find a pure white hat, as rare as a unicorn. White hats hold some certificate of sort that allows them to practice. Their specialties range include; virus removal, pen testing, password cracking and so forth – but only when authorized.
When laws can’t cut it, enters Batman! Red hats are the vigilantes of the hacking world and take the laws in their hands – they’ll stop you, if they can and for whatever it takes. This might sound fancy but, it is still illegal. These guys will use any kind of attack to stop a hacker; DDoS, Virus Uploads and so forth. Again, this is still illegal but when they can, they can be useful. You can sleep in peace knowing someone is watching over you without your authority.
I am not saying what they do is wrong, I am implying that they meddle in your business – that could prove unfortunate for you especially if you are hiding something nasty. Be aware!
I shall not get too much into this but it is important to note that every hacker began here. However, there are those who choose to remain stagnant and they as well fall into this category. Script kiddies copy-paste code and learn from that before they become actual hackers. Those who never stop copy pasting are doomed into copy-paste servitude. These are not to worry about in their current state unless of course, they spend many hours behind a monitor to become actual hackers.
That is it, you are now ware so be careful out there.