White Hat Vs. Black Hat Vs. Grey Hat Hackers

White Hat Vs. Black Hat Vs. Grey Hat Hackers
Published in : 09 Mar 2022

White Hat Vs. Black Hat Vs. Grey Hat Hackers

When you hear the word "Hacker," you may think of a mysterious, geeky, know-it-all type person. This is the traditional old-school stereotype. But, do you know there are different types of hackers? These hackers fall into three categories: black hat, white hat, and grey hat.

You might be wondering what different colors of hats have to do with the hackers? Well, to put it simply, like in movies, a good guy wears white or light color hats, while a bad guy, like his dark motives, wears a black hat. Just like that, based on motivations and purposes, hackers are seen as “ethical hackers” or law-breaking ones. 

I will be doing a “white hat vs. black hat vs. grey hat” comparison in this article. Stay with me to know more about these hackers.

White Hat Vs Black Hat Vs Grey Hat Hackers: Major Difference

White Hat Hacker: They enter the system with the owner's permission and look for the weakness. They report or fix the issues.

Black Hat Hacker: They break into the computers illegally without the owner’s permission and then exploit it and sell their information.

Grey Hat Hacker: These hackers gain access to the computer or network illegally. But report the flaws in the network to the owner. 

What is a White Hat Hacker?

By definition, a white hacker breaks into computers and networks to pinpoint security flaws and, as such, suggests recommendations to protect systems from future cyberattacks.

Because of these hackers, large cooperations have fewer issues with their online platforms. Targeting these large companies isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It requires lots of hard work and professional skillsets. A subgroup of ethical hackers known as penetration testers is experts in risk assessments within these networks.

White Hat Hackers Working

Though the methodologies of white hackers are the same as black hats. The only difference is that they break into the system with the permission of the owner, making the whole process legal. Their job is to assist the network operator in fixing the loopholes before others take advantage.

The different skills and working methods are given below:

#1- Penetration Testing

As mentioned earlier, their role is to identify the network’s vulnerabilities and then rectify them.

#2- Programming

White hat hackers develop ways to lure cybercriminals into their honeypots and achieve the set goals.

#3- Social Engineering

Like hacking computers, these hackers use social engineering to exploit vulnerabilities in the employees. With the help of manipulations and tricks, they force their targets to do illegal activities.

#4- Using Different Gadgets

They use various hardware and tools to install malware and bots to allow quick access to the severs.

White hat hacking is pretty popular these days. There are many programs and training courses dedicated to ethical hacking.

What is a Black Hat Hacker?

Black hat hackers are criminals with extensive knowledge about the security protocols and how to bypass them and break into computer networks without authorization from the system or network operator. They create malware to spy on their target's online activities by gaining access to their system.

Back hats do all this for personal or financial gain. However, there can also be political or ideological reasons for their cyberattacks.

These hackers can have varying skill expertise; some spread malware, while others have more advanced knowledge.

Black Hat Hackers Working

Recently, Samsung reported a data breach, and hackers stole their companies' data and sources codes. Each year, you will see such headlines with black hat hackers breaching and stealing the information.

The stolen information may include credit card details, log-in, and Social Security numbers of employees and users of large organizations. Then, these hackers use the information for publication, selling, or blackmailing purposes.

Data breaches cause severe threats to information worldwide. Black hats hacked Yahoo and stole around 3 billion customer records during 2013-14. Similarly, hackers took more than 412 million customer records from the Adult Friend Finder website in 2016. 

Data breaches are on the rise, and cybercrime is increasing due to criminal organizations hiring skilled hackers that use techniques like phishing or other remote tools to access the devices or accounts. These criminal hackers can run legitimate businesses through franchises or call centers. 

Moreover, governments have utilized hacking as an effective tool to gather intelligence information either from other countries or people they deem to be a threat to the country’s security. 

Cybercrimes are now a global problem, and black hats contribute a lot to this. It is difficult to apprehend these hackers as they leave no evidence behind.

Gray Hat Hackers

Between the black and white are grey hat hackers. They have the properties of both types. They believe, just like Joker, that “If you are good at something, never do it for free.” They exploit the vulnerabilities in the system but without the owner’s permission. Then, these hackers report them to the owner and get a small fee for fixing the problem.  

Grey hat hackers, sometimes, do it for publicity or show off their skills to impress the companies to hire them. Though they are doing all this for companies' benefit, the owners still find it unacceptable to enter into their system unauthorized.

No matter what people, white hats, or companies think about them, these grey hat hackers intend to make the internet safer for everyone. Their incursion, though illegal, is to test the protection system of the big companies.

There are some companies out there that use bug bounty programs to utilize grey hats services in finding the problems in the system. However, there is a possibility that these hackers may go on to become black hats if the companies don’t appreciate their efforts.

How to Stay Safe Online from Hackers

Given below are the ways you can protect your system from hackers:

  • Use unique and strong passwords; use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Avoid clicking on the unknown links in your emails
  • Use secure websites that begin with "HTTPS://" instead of "HTTP://"
  • Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks
  • Use trustworthy apps only
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Check your online financial accounts regularly
  • Install trusted cybersecurity
  • Freeze your credit

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity is becoming a big concern these days. As more and more data is being generated online, the threat of cyberattacks is becoming common. Hackers break into the system and gain access to the information they shouldn’t.

Companies are acquiring the services of white and grey hackers to devise strategies to make their system security impeccable.