When we say the word ‘hacker’, most people will conjure up this image of a young man, wearing a black hoodie sitting in a darkened room. He will be pouring over the keys of a computer with code whizzing by on the screen. Suddenly, he will start laughing, as the numbers in his bank account start going up.
While this is what films and the media might have you believe, it’s not what hackers are really like. In fact, hackers are just like normal people, and will often go about day to day life with no hints of what they really do. There are also different kinds of hackers in the world – and this kind (known as black hat), are only one. We wanted to fill you in about what all the different types of hackers are, and what they do.
Let’s start with the basics. Black Hat hackers (or ‘crackers’, depending on who you talk to) are the types of people you often hear about on the news and from businesses trying to hard sell cyber services. They find banks, organisations and companies with weak security systems and steal credit card information, confidential data or money. Their methods are varied but actually fairly basic most of the time. They don’t just target big organisations either – small businesses have been high on the black hat hacker hit list for a long time now thanks to their weaker security.
White Hat hackers are also known as ethical hackers, and they’re the good guys of the hacker world. You may have even come across some in your time, as cyber security firms are full of them. They help you remove viruses, perform penetration tests and generally help people understand where their vulnerabilities are and even fix them (for a fee). Most White Hat hackers will hold some form of computer or security related qualification, and often pursue careers in both hacking (ethically) and cyber security. They love the challenge of finding the holes in systems, but have no interest in doing anything with the systems once they are inside.
Like everything else in this world, nothing is black and white. Grey Hat hackers are the middle men who don’t steal information or money like Black Hat hackers but they also don’t help people out like the kindly white hack hackers. Instead, Grey Hat hackers spend most of their time playing around with code and systems, without doing anything harmful. The worst they will do is deface a website for fun. This type of hacker actually makes up most of the hacking community, even though Black hat hackers attract most of the media’s attention. If you know a lot of computer geeks, you probably know a few Grey Hat hackers.
Script Kiddies don’t really care about hacking into systems and stealing things. They simply copy code and use it for a virus, SQLi or something else. Script Kiddies will never create new ways to hack for themselves, they tend to watch a YouTube video on how to use it instead. There is no imagination in their methods, so they are fairly easy to prevent if you know how. A very common Script Kiddie attack would be a DOS (Denial of Service) or DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service), where they flood an IP with so much useless information that it collapses, preventing other people from using it. This type of attack doesn’t involve malware or anything else damaging – it simply stops customers or staff accessing the targets networks and resources.
Green Hat hackers are considered the babies of the hacker world. They are new to the hacking game and mainly use script, like Script Kiddies. But Green Hat hackers have aspirations of becoming full blown hackers one day. They are there to learn, play with code and get the feel of the hacking world. They are often found asking questions of fellow hackers and listening with childlike curiosity.
Red Hat hackers are the vigilantes of the hacker world. They’re like white hat hackers in the sense that they put a stop to Black hat attacks. But they are downright scary in how they do it. Instead of reporting the malicious hacker they find lurking inside a business to the authorities, the business or the individual, they shut them down by uploading viruses, DoSing their servers and accessing their computer to destroy it from the inside out. Red hats use many different aggressive methods to force the hacker out of the system and potentially even kill their computer while doing it. The good news is, businesses don’t need to worry about these, as they very rarely look into business systems.
And finally, we have the Blue Hat hackers. If a Script Kiddie ever took revenge on someone, he would become a Blue Hat Hacker. Blue Hat hackers will seek vengeance on anyone who has made them angry. Most Blue Hat hackers are fairly new to the hacking world, but unlike green hats they have no desire to learn. They simply want to destroy those they consider their enemies.
And that about covers it. The vast majority of hackers out there will fall into one of these categories, which helps businesses asses the risk and the motives of anyone attacking their business. At ACT Systems, we can help you understand the unique risk of your business and put measures in place to keep these types of hackers out. We can also put backup and disaster recovery measures in place to ensure that if the worst should happen, your business can get back on its feet in no time. For more information on our security, backup and disaster recovery services, just get in touch with us today.