Most people think about hackers as criminals who stand in front of a screen full of matrix-like green codes. While this only happens in movies…
Truth is, that they’re normal people like you and I.
Some are ethical (White hat) and some aren’t (Black hat). Grey hat hackers are somewhere in the middle.
What makes this differentiation?
This is exactly what we’ll find out today. Shall we?
White Hat Hackers – Explained
They dedicate to the research of companies’ cybersecurity, for later protection. White hat hackers are there to find vulnerabilities and test defense fences before the bad guys do.
Through the use of cybersecurity tools and expertise, they uncover massive holes that otherwise, black hat hackers could exploit, bringing terrible consequences (breach of customer data or crash/corruption of internal files and servers).
Their payday is great because the company that hires the white hat hacker depends entirely on their protection.
Without the monitoring, hygiene, strategies, updates, and awareness they provide, Fortune 500 and similar organizations would lose trillions of dollars every month.
The IT field is the most common starting point of the ethical hacking career.
You could either get a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or any other cybersecurity-related studies.
The good news is that the demand for cybersecurity jobs has increased by at least 75% in the last 3 years. Because the trend is “just starting”, I can guarantee you that it will only increase, and there will be no shortage of this well-paying role anytime soon.
Being said, would you like to know how much does an ethical hacker make per year?
According to Payscale, the Average Annual Income of Certified Ethical Hackers is $80,074
Of course, it doesn’t stop there.
Grey Hat Hackers – Explained
Here’s where things start to get dirty.
Grey hat hackers (as the mix of colors indicate) are between the line of white hat and black hat. Sometimes, they cross that line to achieve their goals, but without malicious intentions.
Meaning that, In most cases, they practice unethical methods for non-criminal purposes.
It means, they are open to criminal espionage, and data breaching if it will bring positive results to most people.
Even with good intentions, they don’t fear to challenge lawmakers at any time if needed.
Two great examples of grey hat hacking we can refer to are:
1) When someone helped the FBI to break into a terrorist’s iPhone.
2) The Russian Hacker (Alexey) who patched over 100,000 MikroTik’s routers without their consent.
There have been times when Grey hat hackers offered a helping hand to a company in goodwill but later exploiting if no cooperation or interest is shown.
Still, there’s a next level on the scale.
Black Hat Hackers – Explained
Now, these are the ones that you should fear.
They make their way on the media headlines due to their unethical achievements. Illegal activities are their day-to-day
Black hat hacker’s only goal is to harm someone or something. They steal, corrupt, invade, and damage systems and files for compensation, fun, and in some cases, for social justice.
“How do they achieve their goals?” – You may ask.
Among the set of tools black hat hackers use to cause harm, you can find:
- Adware & Malvertising
- Zero-day Exploits
- …Among others.
To close up today’s read with a positive statement: it’s common for black hat hackers to receive job opportunities before or after they have done any criminal activities.
Sometimes they’re uncomprehended. They might want some attraction for their work or themselves… Still, it’s impossible to not say that most black hat hackers that run today are smart and powerful enough for their own.
Companies like that.
Are you a White, Grey, or Black Hat Hacker?
Hackers come in different shapes, sizes, and especially: colors. While they do not have the same intentions, most of them are as equally prepared for the same situations.
Being said, you should have systems in places (by ethical security experts) to protect from the black hat, and grey hat hackers all together.