Cybercrime has become more prevalent than ever and is now a far cry from the stereotypical "nerd in a bedroom" image of which have known for a number of years. There are now sophisticated groups of hackers working at an organisational level to take down competitors, government institutes and any other individual or business of note/worth. Today, we will take a brief look at the different types of hackers that are about in the world today - as they are not all bad despite the connotations that the word hacking comes with.
Script Kiddies are generally unsophisticated hackers and are only hacking systems for fun or time killing purposes. Rarely do they have an ulterior motive in terms of theft, but more they want to challenge themselves and see if the code they have found and the Youtube video they've watched can allow them to frustrate someone else.
Green Hats & Blue Hats
Green Hats are essentially the babies of the hacking world. They are similar in that to Script Kiddies that they are inexperienced, but they have the desire to become full blown hackers. Similar to the way the Script Kiddies will use already created script, Green Hats will use an already created code.
Blue Hats are essentially Green Hats or Script Kiddies with a grudge. They will seek to shut down via a Direct Denial Of Service (DDoS) or interfere with a business or individual that has wronged them or irritated them. For example, a Blue Hat could shut down a school website if they felt they had wrongfully been punished. Unlike Green Hats, Blue Hats have no desire to push forward their knowledge of hacking and advance further.
White Hats are also known as "ethical hackers". These people can be employed to deliberately compromise a businesses' systems and and analyse weaknesses in networks so that these weaknesses and flaws can be addressed and patched. White Hats also seek to work around malicious activities and get systems back up and running. For example, if a serious virus was to infect a businesses' network, a White Hat would be the sort of person to reverse this and get systems back up and running. Often White Hats are found with formal qualifications in computer security and hacking.
Black Hats are the "bad guys" of the hacking world. They write or use others' code to infiltrate systems and steal information such as personal details, credit/bank details and either sell this information on or hold it to ransom - often in return for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. These are the sort of hackers that you hear about most frequently on the news and can be incredibly organised in their approach and take down huge organisations - most recently the NHS, UBER, and Ticketmaster.
As with everything in this world, nothing is just black and white. Grey Hat hackers don’t steal information or money like Black Hat hackers (though they may sometimes deface a website for fun), nor do they help people out like white hack hackers. Instead, they spend most of their time just playing around with systems, without doing anything harmful. This type of hacker actually makes up most of the hacking community, even though Black hat hackers garner most of the media’s attention.
Red Hats are essentially White Hats on steroids. They actively pursue Black Hats and try to take them down as opposed to just reporting them. Instead of reporting the malicious hacker they find lurking inside a business, they shut them down by uploading viruses, DoSing and accessing their computer to destroy it form the inside out. Red hats use many different aggressive methods to force the cracker out and potentially even kill their computer.
As you can see, the term "hacking" is incredibly varied and is not just limited to having negative connotations. With cybercrime become more and more prevalent, now is the time to assess your cyber security plan and infrastructure as it can be incredibly costly should you suffer a breach!
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