When you hear the word hacker what do you immediately think?
Is it the hooded guys that steal personal data from the internet using their insane computer skills?
If you do, you’re not entirely wrong, but did you know that there are also hackers that have good intentions and are actually allowed to hack into computer systems? They are called Ethical Hackers.
Have you seen Sylvester Stallone’s movie Escape Plan? In this movie, he breaks in and out of prisons as a profession. After a successful prison break, he then recommends improvements on the prison’s security system based on the methods he used during the prison break. Similarly, ethical hackers break into computer systems using the same methods used by criminal hackers, to help assess the security of a system.
As the saying goes, “It takes a thief to catch a thief” but in this case, we are dealing with hackers, not a thief and instead of catching them, we just want them out and away from our systems.
Last time, I asked you “what comes to mind when you hear the word hacker?”. So now, we will talk about those shady guys that come to mind when talking about hackers. Since it’s common knowledge that hackers break into systems with ill intentions, I won’t get into that. Let’s talk about other things about them instead.
First, their motive. Most of the time, it’s money. I’m thinking of three ways how they can make money from what they are doing:
- Sell the assets they obtained through hacking
- Sell their services to people who want to hack a computer system
- Collect ransom from owners of hacked computer system
When it’s not money, they hack the system for the same reasons why people hire them in #2.
Next, let’s talk about the different types of unethical hackers.
Some hackers break laws to fulfill their motives.
- Black hat hackers: A hacker who breaks into computer systems without the permission of the system owner. This is usually someone with malicious intent.
- Blue hat hackers: The vengeful spirits. A person who learns hacking to get revenge from an individual or an organization.
While some hackers break the law, their motives might be considered by other people as ethical, heroic, or justifiable.
- Grey hat hackers: A hacker who breaks into computer systems without permission but reveals his findings to the system owner.
- Red hat hackers: The vigilante. Hacks through a black hat’s systems to stop the illegal activities and malicious intent of a black hat hacker.
- Hacktivists: A person who hacks through a system to broadcast their belief and ideals. Usually victimizes government systems and leaves political messages.
To sum up, ethical hackers hack on behalf of the company to find and cover the loopholes to the system’s security. On the other hand, unethical hackers hack to cause harm or loss to the company and take profit for themselves.
Hopefully this blog gave you some insight into the colourful world of hacking. More and more companies are taking data protection and security seriously, and are willing to invest heavily in securing their systems – including hiring ethical hackers.