FN SECURE: Hackers Categories

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Hackers Categories


  Introduction

Hackers can be divided into three groups: white hats, black hats, and gray hats. Ethical hackers
usually fall into the white-hat category, but sometimes they are former gray hats who have become

security professionals and who use their skills in an ethical manner.

                White Hat Hackers

White Hats are the good guys, the ethical hackers who use their hacking skills for
defensive purposes. White-hat hackers ar
e usually security professionals with knowledge of
hacking and the hacker tool set and who use this knowledge to locate weaknesses and implement
countermeasures.
 

Black Hat Hackers

Black hats are the bad guys: the malicious hackers or
crackers
who use their skills
for illegal or malicious purposes. They break into or otherwise violate the system integrity of
remote machines, with malicious intent. Having gained unauthorized access, black-hat hackers
destroy vital data, deny legitimate users service, and basically cause problems for their targets.
Black-hat hackers and crackers can easily be differentiated from white-hat hackers because their
actions are malicious.

Gray Hat Hackers


Grey hats are hackers who may work offensively or defensively, depending on the situation.
This is the dividing line between hacker and cracker. Both are powerful forces on the Internet,
and both will remain permanently. And some individuals qualify for both categories. The
existence of such individuals further clouds the division between these two groups of people.
In addition to these groups, there are self-proclaimed ethical hackers, who are interested in
hacker tools mostly from a curiosity standpoint. They may want to highlight security problems
in a system or educate victims so they secure their systems properly. These hackers are
doing their “victims” a favor. For instance, if a weakness is discovered in a service offered by
an investment bank, the hacker is doing the bank a favor by giving the bank a chance to rectify
the vulnerability.

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