Last week we took a brief look at the three common types of Hackers – White hat, gray hat, and black hat.
With a more professional approach to hacking, the “White Hats” don’t often stray much beyond what they’re compensated for. Some of them work for different clients around the globe. While others have offices with one company.
The “Gray Hats” have foggier, more ambiguous motivations, and hacking may even just be a hobby for them. Many “Gray Hats” consider themselves to be what we call “hacktivists”.
Hacktivists are hackers who are motivated by politics or by a cause. With the intent of bringing public attention to an issue that they believe needs to be addressed.
There has been quite the debate over whether hacktivists are “good” or “bad” to begin with, as many of them aim to right perceived wrongs, or to enact a specific change – Such as the hacktivist group “Anonymous”, who regularly takes down ISIS social media profiles, or some of the contributors to Wikileaks, who work towards full disclosure of information.
Some of the more prominent hacktivists have been known to take down government websites (via DDOS) for long periods of time, which is a heavy criminal offense. Others have been known to breach servers and steal information, leaking personal data to the public, such as the Sony Data breach of 2011, when the personal information of all registered users was stolen by a group of hacktivists.
While there have been attacks in which private information was leaked for the sole purpose of embarrassing the users of specific sites, their primary objective is usually to open eyes, and to direct attention to something imperative that everyone is missing.
Recently there has been a clamp down on these hacktivist campaigns, reducing the overall number of political attacks around the globe exponentially, but that doesn’t mean they’re over and done with. There have been massive hacktivist attacks as recent as we saw in the 2016 presidential election, and hacktivism today is still considered disruptive, if not downright dangerous; a real threat to online communities, multi-national corporations, trade associations and businesses in general.
Regardless of whether or not you own a business of your own, you could still be affected by a more large-scale attack, and even more so by a personal one.
We talked about those hackers who aim to gain financially from either individual, corporate, or even government losses, check back next week when we discuss these Black Hat hackers and how to secure yourself from them.