Posted in Cybersecurity Ethical Hacking Hacking

Different Hacker Types Explained – Black Hat vs. Gray Hat vs. White Hat

People often associate hacking or hackers with a crime. However, the field has different variations, each having an individual goal and purpose in the hacking world. The people involved in stealing information and hacking into apps are known as black hat hackers, while white hat hackers are the ones that protect systems and people. There is a third category, which acts as a middle ground known as gray hat hackers.

So what are black hat hackers? What is the difference between black hat and white hack hackers? Why being a gray hat hacker is more complicated? If you have these questions in mind, you have landed on the right page. This article will answer all your burning questions and help you to understand the different hacker types.

So without further ado, let us begin with our conquest.

Black Hat Hackers: The criminals

Black hat hackers are the ones who steal information and hack into various systems to gain access to classified data and information. This type of hacking consists of criminals with high levels of coding expertise. They use their hacking skills to commit several crimes, which can vary from hacking into personal accounts or gaining access to secret government information or sensitive data.

Black hat hackers are professionals and highly skilled coders with years of expertise in the coding field. However, other categories, such as opportunists, are experts in convincing consumers to share sensitive data using behavioral engineering.

There are many scenarios where you may find the involvement of black hat hackers. Some of the typical motives behind black hat hacking include:

  • Money – The ultimate goal of a black hat hacker is to steal money or financial secrets. Information about your credit card, bank accounts, and financial transactions are the primary target of black hat hackers.
  • Accessing private information – Accessing confidential information is one of the most common scenarios involving black hat hackers. These hackers gain access to private data for personal vendetta or to seek information for financial gain.
  • Hacking into finance information – Finance information of individuals, corporations, or government departments are the most lucrative assets for any black hat hacker. They will target anyone with big monetary pockets, primarily corporate and people dealing with government finance.
  • Gaining access to property secrets – Alongside money, corporate properties’ financial information is a valuable target for black hat hackers.

White Hat Hackers: The protectors

Unlike black hat hackers, where everything starts and ends with stealing information and secrets, white hat hackers use their hacking skills to prevent these threats. White hat hackers work for different organizations, including government and business entities. They secure the infrastructure by regularly updating security protocols and sealing loopholes in the system.

White hat hackers mostly receive training from military or authorized hacking institutes, making them an excellent choice for any organization. Employing a white hat hacker will ensure that your information stays protected without breaking the law.

Here is the list of roles that a white hat hacker offers:

  • White hat hackers monitor in and out traffic to check for signs and loopholes of hacking
  • They develop and test patches to ensure safety and prevent security holes
  • Identifying vulnerabilities and problems in the security system
  • Hacking into your app or server to patch loopholes
  • Testing and having up to date knowledge of the latest hacking tools and software
  • Monitoring rival business apps for potential breach of data or information
  • Performing tasks without breaking the law

White hat hackers work by the rules and keep everything intact for their employers. However, they are still hackers, and since they have all the access to your network, they can use this information to gain financial benefits. It would be best to do a background check before hiring someone.

Gray hat hackers: The tricky ground

Gray hat hackers are experts in camouflage. They can blend into black hat hackers from white hat hackers or vice versa according to their needs. Sometimes many consider grey hat hackers as black hat hackers as most of their work involves stealing information and data. However, if a white hat hacker strikes another fellow hacker, we can consider it an example of grey hat hacking.

Many organizations and businesses hire grey hat hackers to hack into their competitor’s network to steal valuable information. This information helps an entity to stay ahead of its competition and manipulate the market. Grey hat hackers act as a gold mine for these organizations, as they provide them with all the insight and plans of their competitors.

There are several versions or scenarios where grey hat hacking occurs. These versions include:

  • Hacking into another’s server to improve security by illegally downloading code
  • Transforming from a white hat hacker to a black hat hacker according to requirements
  • Breaching other company’s data to strengthen your organization’s security and patch loopholes
  • Intelligence agencies hacking into each other’s government data and information is also a part of grey hat hacking
  • Hacking into government servers to access criminal records for identifying criminals

Grey hat hacking sits in between black hat and white hat hacking. Some grey hat hacking scenarios may seem related to black hat hacking, while others involve white hat hackers striking another white hat hacker.

Hackers use many tools and techniques to steal your information. Some of the standard tools hackers use are Rootkits, Keyloggers, and Vulnerability Scanner, while SQL Injection Attack and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) are the most common hacking techniques.