29 Jun Hackers: more than meets the eye
The word hacker usually makes us think about crime, people who are always trying to get away with something that doesn’t belong to them, things like bank account information, or social security numbers, things they can use to either scam, and outright rob you, or get profit from, stuff like e-mails, ID numbers and anything they can sell to the highest bidder. But despite all that, did you know that there are different types of hackers, and even more impressive, not all of them are bad. Let’s take a look of the different types of hackers we know.
- White hat hackers: these are the good guys, also known as ethical hackers; they use their knowledge and skill for non-threatening activities. They are highly requested in the IT industry and are mainly used for finding systems and security weaknesses. All that is possible thanks to white hat hacking is actually not illegal.
- Black hat hackers: these are the bad guys, also known as crackers; they use their knowledge and skill to get access into systems and networks with no authorization for the sole purpose of harming the operations or stealing information for their own benefit.
- Gray hat hackers: these are like a combination of both white and black hats; their most recognizable characteristic or habit is that they will always try to get inside a system or try to exploit a vulnerability but, always without malicious intent, and most of the time only for fun, although in many cases they would do it for appreciation, recognition, and why not? A little bounty for discovering said weakness.
- Now we enter a different terrain, the next ones are more like subclasses of the past hackers we saw, this time well classify them using what they hack and / or how they do it as criteria. The first ones we have are…
- Red hat hackers: these are again a blend of black and white hat hackers, but oddly enough, these kinds of hackers seem to be mainly and almost entirely focused or interested into government agencies, always trying to get their hands into anything they can see as sensitive or classified.
- Blue hat hackers: These are kinda similar to white hat hackers; these are specially focused into the consulting and security testing area.
- Green hat hackers: the green term works as a reference to the inexperience of this class, these are usually hackers that are just starting or learning about hacking.
- Hacktivist: these are hackers that focus of spreading a message related to an ideology, politics, religion or society, they specialize in website defacement and shutting down web services.
- Script-boy: This class of hacker deviates from the rule of being very knowledgeable and skillful on informatics, instead relying on pre-programmed tools developed by other hackers, these are usually non-experts and have little to no in-depth understanding of what they do.
- Now, if we wanted to list hackers by their raw knowledge and skills, we would have only two different categories, the first one being…
- Neophyte: these are usually regular hackers that possess little to no reputation, it is not necessarily a lack of skill, the hacking community apparently can be very extremists regarding this subject, having a rather “you either elite or novice” vision.
- Elite hackers: this is a term to refer to any hacker that has experience breaching security systems and has managed to give his pseudonym a reputation by showing feats of hacking ability. Some hackers that could be considered elite can be:
Anonymous: one of the most known hacker groups out there, they were born on a message board called 4chan, they usually focus on the subject of social justice and have a very loose hierarchy, something that makes them almost impossible to stop.
Kevin Mitnick: starting as a hacker in 1982, the managed to hack into the North American Defense Command (NORAD) , something that inspired the movie “war games” on 1983, then in the 89, managed to hack into the Digital equipment Corporation (DEC), the leading computer manufacturer at the time, this put him in the map. Today he is recognized for going white hat, but some rumor say he sells information he has collected over time for his own benefit.
Adrian Lamo: Earning the name of “homeless hacker” due to him being an errant person who was usually found on the streets with nothing more than a bag pack, took things too fat when he hacked The New York Times, adding himself to the lest of expert sources, and started an investigation on a high-profile public figure.