What is a Black Hat Hacker: Types of Hackers

Black Hat Hacker Types

With the rapid growth in the adoption of technology, the threats of Cyberattacks have also significantly increased. The world hacked or hacker sends chills down the spine of security professionals. In this post, we will cover what a Black Hat Hacker is and what other types of hackers are out there. 

The categorization of Hackers is done based on their skill level and motives. Following are the types of hackers:

1. Black Hat Hackers

Black Hat Hackers are Cyber Criminals with computers and programming expertise, who attack networks, websites, servers, or individuals with the primary objective of financial gains. They can also destroy or encrypt files using malware, hold computer data hostage, steal passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information.

A Black Hat Hacker may work alone or with organized crime syndicates, which have evolved as well-oiled machinery. With the evolution of Cryptocurrency, things are getting lucrative for Black Hats as anonymously sending and receiving money from anywhere is a lot easier now. The dark web is thickly populated with Black Hat hackers offering services from hacking email/social media accounts, Espionage, attacking websites using Botnet-based DDoS attacks, to attacks like Spear Phishing, Ransomware, Malware, Doxxing, and more.

Doxxing is a malicious act of publicly revealing sensitive personal information of individuals or organizations, usually through the Internet spoiling their reputation or sometimes ruining people’s life. Doxxing has been derived from the expression “dropping box”.

Black Hat hacking is illegal and can get you in serious trouble with law enforcement.

2. White Hat Hackers

White Hat Hackers are cybersecurity professionals with similar skills to a Black Hat hacker but use them to discover weaknesses or vulnerabilities in existing technology. They only hack the systems they are allowed to hack and are hired by companies to find security gaps to patch and stay protected. 

White Hat Hackers are also called Ethical Hackers, and White Hat hacking is legal. White Hat Hackers also work on Bug Bounty programs via sites like HackerOne and Bugcrowd. As per Dark Reading, several Hackers earn a Million or more from bug bounty hunting.

3. Gray Hat Hackers

Gray hat hackers are involved in both black hat and white hat activities. Grey hat hackers look for vulnerabilities in systems without the owner’s knowledge or permission. If they find an issue, they report them to the owner; however sometimes requesting a small fee to fix it. 

If the owner fails to comply, they can publish the discovery with the exploit online.

Gray Hat Hacking is also illegal since the Hackers do not have permission from the organization or individual to infiltrate the system. However, the intentions of Gray Hat hackers aren’t as illicit compared to their black hat counterparts. 

These are traditionally the three most popular categories of Hackers. However, many additional terms have gained popularity in the recent past, which are essential to be understood. 

4. Green Hat Hackers

Green Hat Hackers are beginners in the Hacking world, someone learning skills to become a professional or excel at it. They are also known as “Noob” or “Neophyte”. Green Hat Hackers may be incapable of creating serious issues deliberately. However, they can cause significant damage to a system ignorantly without knowing how to reverse it.

Their lack of knowledge makes them dangerous. Green Hat Hackers may idolize known Black Hat Hackers and are desperate to get a seat in the real world of Hackers.

5. Script Kiddies

Script Kiddies are the beginners of the hacking world with limited knowledge or expertise who use programs and scripts developed by others to attack systems and websites. They are primarily underaged, but Script Kiddies is a category and don’t represent individuals’ age.

The Script Kiddies, aka Skiddies, typically look for low-hanging fruits using well-known methods to find and exploit existing vulnerable systems without any information of what kind of damage it can cause.

6. Blue Hat Hackers

Blue Hat Hackers are Junior Hackers who don’t intend to learn but only want to use hacking as a weapon to earn popularity among their friends and fellow beings. Blue Hats can also use it against their competitors or adversaries. 

Since the motive of Blue Hats is not to learn or do anything good, this makes them dangerous and can lead them to unlawful activities.

7. Red Hat Hackers

Red Hat Hackers are the vigilantes of the hacking world and are the most sophisticated of the lot. Red Hat Hackers actively go after the Black Hat Hackers with the sole intention of making them pay for their crimes. Red Hats will ruthlessly attack Black Hats to bring them down, often destroying their computer and resources deliberately.

They do not go by any rulebook, and their activities may be considered unlawful. Red Hat hackers use the inability of White Hat Hackers to stop Black Hats to justify their actions. They are sometimes also known as Eagle-Eyed Hackers.

8. Hacktivists

Hacktivists are the Hackers who typically adopt hacking as a form of civil disobedience and promoting a social change or a political agenda. Hacktivist can be an individual or a group of hackers going by a common name.

Hacktivists typically target government, high profile targets, social networks, and websites.

The largest anonymous operation around Hacktivism was “Operation ISIS” which involved at least four of the collective’s splinter groups i.e. Binary Sec, VandaSec, CtrlSec, and GhostSec. Anonymous claimed to have shut more than 5,000 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts in response to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo Paris attack.

9. Nation State-Sponsored Hackers

Nation-state Hackers are the sponsored hackers who target government agencies, critical infrastructure/Networks, and industries owning sensitive data or properties. These hackers are rich in resources and strike using sophisticated techniques which can cause data leaks, supply chain disruption, or interrupt business operations. 

This Hacker Group, unlike other hackers, uses Advanced Persistent Threats, leverages zero-day attacks, and works covertly. The attacks by these groups are surgical and methodical.

10. Whistleblowers or Malicious Insiders

Whistleblowers or Malicious Insiders are individuals working in an organization who deliberately leak sensitive information, especially to government agencies. Their intent may be to settle personal scores or expose unethical or illegal activities.

11. Cyber Terrorists

Cyber Terrorists are Cybercriminals who launch attacks around essential services like energy, telecommunication, supply chain intending to incite violence, riots, destruction, or disruption of services. The motive is to promote the attacker’s political, religious, or social issues.

About Ramya Srinivasan

Malware Researcher, Threat Analyst, Blogger, Thinker and Lead Author at SecurityFocal.

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