Cybersecurity Awareness Month takes place every year in October, thanks to the efforts of international organizations that want to increase digital literacy in our community by educating them about how Internet security works and how to discover something new. But when we talk about cybersecurity, people often have a stereotypical idea of those hackers who are trying to get data from them about what they are doing on the Internet and use it to their advantage. In this article below, we will talk about what types of hackers there are and what they do.

Six heroes of the modern world through the prism of cybersecurity

First, what does the word “Hacker” mean? We have a stereotypical idea that hackers are a type of people who find a vulnerability inside the system and use it to obtain information that can be sold later, or blackmail a person, offering him to keep this information confidential.

In reality, a hacker is an expert in programming and solving computer problems. For example, if we are thinking about real specialists, then we can recall the biography of Loyd Blankenship, the author of “The Hacker Manifesto”, indicating the core values of a hacker, who later got a job in a cybersecurity company.

There are six types of colors that characterize human activity in the hacker community:

  • White Hat Hackers.
  • Black Hat Hackers.
  • Gray Hat Hackers.
  • Green Hat Hackers.
  • Red Hat Hackers.
  • Blue Hat Hackers.
Source:InfoSec Insights

What is a White Hat?

An ethical hacker is a specialist who has special permission to search for vulnerabilities or use malware to find problems in the security system, often they cooperate with the government or companies that hire them to improve cybersecurity.

The main motive of an ethical hacker is to find a vulnerability faster than a black hacker can do and fix it. Also, they are interested in creating tools that can detect cyberattacks and mitigate or block them. 

What is a Gray Hat?

Typically, these are people who are in the middle of black and white hackers. They got this name because they use not the most ethical methods to find vulnerabilities, for example, they can get into the system of a company that has not given permission for this, but at the same time a hacker will not use it for bad purposes. They send information about what they have found to the company, or to the owner of the system, however, they often apply for a separate payment for the implementation of their services: They can take money for a recommendation on how to fix this, how to strengthen the protection of the organization, etc.

Sometimes, gray hackers use their methods to gain popularity, telling everyone about a new hacking method, if the company does not respond to the problem for a long time, or has already fix it, which accordingly affects the reputation of the company that had the vulnerability.

The complete opposite of white hackers - who are they?

As a rule, the stereotypical idea of hackers originates in the activities of black hackers who use their knowledge to harm companies or the state, finding various vulnerabilities that can be used for their own purposes. In most cases, their activities violate the laws of a particular country where they use malware to violate the integrity of the system. Unlike white or gray hackers, they do not have a set of rules that they follow during their activities.

An example of a black hacker is a Greek hacker named “Astra” who stole weapons technology data that he later sold to buyers all over the world. Later, he was found by law enforcement agencies and arrested for this case.

External security professionals - What is their task?

Blue hackers are cybersecurity professionals working outside of organizations. They are often called Microsoft hackers because the company holds a special conference for such people, by special invitations.  

The main activity of blue hackers is to test software before its release and find security vulnerabilities. Sometimes they attend various events where companies offer to find a vulnerability in their product to fix it.

What are the new faces in hacking called?

New people who come into the world of hacking are usually called green hackers. They have the desire to become one of the experienced software specialists, but they do not yet have sufficient knowledge in their field. They can use malicious programs for learning, or use courses, but they also remain dangerous for others, because they do not know what is behind their actions and how to fix them.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides green hackers with an opportunity to learn something new for them, and also introduces people to various courses in order to improve their knowledge about the specifics of their work.

Robin Hood in a red hat - what's behind it?

They are similar to white hackers, they want to fix the consequences of black hackers and stop them, but they often use not entirely ethical methods of action in their activities. As a rule, if they find a representative of the black hat, then they use the following methods against him: Using malware to infect an attacker’s computer or launching a DDoS attack aimed at a black hacker.

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Sources of information

When writing this article, our company used the following sources:

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