When you think of the word “hacker,” what’s the first image that comes to mind? Was it a hooded figure, sulking in the basement and desperately waiting for the opportune moment to obtain all of your information with the click of a button? Or perhaps it was a socially awkward teenager chugging down their fifth energy drink of the night while typing out strings of 0s and 1s like rapid fire. The media most often portrays them as one of the two.
The term “hacker” started out relatively harmless. They were seen as innovators in the 1950s, the kind of person that challenged the manual and found different solutions to a problem. Eventually the more negative connotation stuck when the nineties arrived and is presently the most popular definition, a “hacker” is someone who uses a computer to gain unauthorized access to systems or data.
Today we mainly recognize three different kinds of hackers, categorized by the motives behind their actions. They typically hack with the same skill sets as one another as most hackers use the same methods.
Black Hat Hackers, also known as “Hacktivists,” apply their skills maliciously and their objectives typically range from stealing the personal data and monetary funds of individuals like you or I, to major corporate breaches. They work outside of the law, and what they do is usually very illegal.
These guys can type at mach ten, dress like death -if he wore a hoody and ratty jeans. The sketchy guys that stand in the back alleys of the internet waiting to tempt you with empty promises and infect your computer with malware and other harmful viruses.
Occupying a vast land of motivations neither good nor bad, Grey Hat don’t aim to directly cause harm to anyone.
Some of them may in fact have good intentions, breaking into different organizations online and informing them of vulnerabilities anonymously. To some of them it’s only a hobby, to others, selling those vulnerabilities to different agencies is also common occurrence and their livelihood.
Often called the “ethical” hackers, a White Hat is someone who utilizes their skills for the good of other people or companies and are usually hired in order to do so in the first place.
They’re compensated to find breaches in security, vulnerabilities, test systems and a plethora of other small jobs here and there that require their level of devotion and technological understanding.
Unfortunately, lurking behind each type of hacker are those that are ruthless in their pursuit of getting political and public attention. The members of this group can come from white, gray and black, and each is trying to open the eyes of the world.
Join us next week when we take a closer more in depth look at the people known as “Hacktivists”.