Hackers are a category of computer user who seek to gain access to computer systems or networks without authorization. They are distinguished from crackers, who act maliciously and primarily focus on breaking into computers rather than exploiting vulnerabilities.
Types of Hacker
Script kiddies: Script kiddies use scripts – mass produced programs which automate the process of searching for vulnerabilities by spamming websites with automated software requests- and are unlikely to understand the technology behind them or have any programming skills at all. Attackers using these exploits are often referred to as “script kiddies”, in a derogatory manner.
Crackers have been described as “computer terrorists” who use their knowledge of potentially vulnerable systems to exploit vulnerabilities for the purpose of causing harm. Attacks by crackers are often a result of a vulnerability, rather than an exploratory action.
Alternatively, crackers may use information from the real hacking community to exploit vulnerabilities in a target system.
Hacktivists are individual who use their technical skills to fight for a certain cause or to disrupt the activities of an organisation they disagree with. Their attacks are often carried out in retaliation for perceived injustices, such as censorship, government oppression, or corporate malfeasance.
Identification of an individual as a hacktivist does not necessarily imply that they are malicious hackers or crackers, although it is possible.
White Hat Hackers
White hat hackers are ethical computer hackers who employ hacking in a positive way in order to test the security of computer systems and identify vulnerabilities.
They use their skills for the greater good of society, rather than maliciously attacking others. These ‘good-guy’ hackers expose security holes to companies so that they can be fixed, rather than exposing them online or selling them to criminals.
Black Hat Hacker
Black hat hackers have been described as “the type of hacker who break into insecure systems with malicious intent. They may pilfer sensitive information from these systems, or use them to launch further attacks.”
These hackers are primarily motivated by financial gain and are willing to modify or break into computer systems using any means possible to achieve their aims.
Black hat hackers are often employed by governments or organizations as cyber security professionals, but they aren’t always ethical in their methods.
Blue Hat Hacker
Blue hat hackers are those who attempt to find vulnerabilities in a software program and then report the issue to the company responsible for maintaining it rather than exploiting the system themselves. A company may pay a bounty for the information provided.