What are the different types of hackers?


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If you’re familiar with the cyber world, then you will have heard of the word “Hacker”. However, not everyone knows the history of hackers, the different hacking techniques, and that hackers fall into different categories. Aside from that, there are lots of misconceptions around hacking.

So what is hacking? A hacker means different things in the world of computing. It can be referred to as a person who can subvert computer security, regardless of intention. It can also mean someone who can push the computer beyond its limits. There are various reasons why hackers do what they do. These could be monetary, patriotic, egoistic, and lots more. Types of hackers you’ll come across include Black Hat, White Hat, and Grey Hat.

Black Hat

Black hat hackers are cybercriminals who break into computer security for malicious intent. This type of hackers ranges from amateurs who use malware tools to spread malware to experienced hackers aiming to steal sensitive information. Black hat hackers usually have deep knowledge about bypassing security protocols and breaking into a computer network. The primary motivation of black hackers is for financial or personal gain. There are different types of black hat hackers in the computing world. One of them is a script kiddie.

Script kiddie

A script kiddie is an unskilled/amateur hacker who lacks programming knowledge but used existing tools or script for other hackers to launch an attack. Most often script kiddies use hacking tools without even knowing what they’re used for. Another type of black hat hacker that you’ll come across in the computing world is the Cryptojackers.


Cryptojackers are hackers who perform crypto-jacking. Cryptojacking is an unauthorized way of using someone’s else computer system to mine cryptocurrency – it’s simply called malicious mining. Cryptojackers have devised different techniques to enslave people’s computers. In some cases, these black hat hackers will create a website that steals visiting computer resources such as processor, memory, and power to mine cryptocurrency.


Hacktivists are another type of black hat hackers. This type of hackers uses hacking to protest to promote social changes or political statements. Hacktivists can hack into a victim’s network to steal information that will make their purpose or cause known to the company or organization. One of the most well-known groups of hacktivists is the Anonymous Collective. Another one is the Adword Spammers.

White Hat

Unlike black hat hackers, who infiltrate computer systems to steal sensitive information, white hat hackers will never harm the network or steal sensitive information. Instead, they aim to break into a computer network or system to find weaknesses as part of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. White hat hackers are popularly called ethical hackers.

Ethical hacking

Ethical hacking is legal, and it’s also one of the most sought after professional jobs available in the IT industry. There are lots of IT organizations that hire ethical hackers to help them with penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. In most cases, before a white hacker tries to bypass an organization network, they seek the consent of the organization and report the weakness found to prevent the vulnerability from being exploited by black hat hackers.

Different types of white hat hackers exist in the computing world, and it’ll make sense once you get familiar with them. Among the types of white hackers are cyber researchers, who are just like researchers in other fields. They’re responsible for knowing where to find information, how to analyze it, and also understand how it will be applied.

Cyber researchers

Cyber researchers fall under any of these two categories – academics who dedicate their lives to researching and writing about cybersecurity; operating systems and computer experts. Another type of white hat hacker is the penetration tester. Instead of using their hacking skills to harm, penetration testers use their hacking skills in such a way that it benefits society. Information security is another type of white hat hackers, and their responsibility is to plan and carry out security measures.

Grey Hat

Grey hackers are somewhere between black hat and white hat hackers. Unlike ethical hacking, grey hat hacking is illegal, and people involved might be prosecuted. This is because grey hat hackers do not receive permission from the victim company or organization before they carry out their exploits.

However, the intention of grey hat hackers is not as dangerous as black hat hackers. This is because at first, the aim of grey hat hackers is not to cause harm or steal sensitive data. When a grey hat hacker gets access to the company’s sensitive information, they might decide to report the vulnerabilities to the victim’s company, or they can conclude to exploit the weakness. So what they do with the information is what will label them as either good or bad. If they report the flaw to the victim’s company, the company mostly works with them to fix the vulnerabilities – and they usually reward them just like they would a white hat hacker. However, if the company decides to ignore a grey hat hacker, they are not restricted by an employment contract or the ethical rules.

When this happens, they can exploit the weakness and cause harm to the victim’s network, steal sensitive data, or even share the flaws with other hackers to exploit. Most times, a grey hacker’s aim is to do good – though good things that are profitable to them. One of the grey hat’s good deeds is the Russian-speaking grey hat reported to break into people’s Mikrotik routers and patch a series of weaknesses so they wouldn’t be exploited.

Final Toughts

Some people believe that all hackers are criminals, which is untrue, and some believe that only a few people can be a target. The history of hacking dates back to the 1960s at MIT. During this time, highly skilled individuals practiced hardcore programming using FORTRAN. Then, the term hacker was used as a label for computer geniuses who could push the computer beyond its capabilities. .


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