A security hacker is someone who explores methods for breaching defences and exploiting weaknesses in a computer system or network.
To the laymen, hackers are known as the bad guys of the internet, but it is way more than that, and there are many types of hackers that you probably have never heard of before.
The most common attacks on the internet include malware, phishing, Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks, Denial-of-Service (DOS) attacks, SQL injections, zero-day exploits, password attacks, and cross-site scripting. And all these types of attacks are the ones that gave hacking sort of a bad name.
According to Kaspersky, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) became one of the first homes of hacking in 1969. They started out by altering software and hardware to make it work better and faster. One of the earliest and biggest cyberattacks was one when Kevin Poulsen, American contributing editor (known as Dark Dante in cyberspace at the time) was arrested for breaking into Arpanet in 1983.
Hacking is complex. Although many people associate it with crime, the same methods that hackers use to break into a system can be used to help prevent a cyber attack. This type of hacking is known as ethical hacking.
Here are four types of hackers that you probably didn’t know existed:
- Black hat hackers
Black hat hackers break into a computer network with malicious intent. They may release malware that destroys files, holds computers hostage, or steal passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information. These are the types of hackers that everyone should look out for.
Black hat hackers are motivated by many reasons: financial gain, revenge, or they may just simply want to spread havoc.
Kaspersky says that black hat hackers may operate as businesses, which is the easiest way to distribute scale malware. They might act as a call centre to make outbound calls, pretending to work for big organisations like Microsoft.
- White hat hacker
White hackers are what you would call “good hackers”. They break into a computer network or system to identify flaws and vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed. This type of hacking is known as ethical hacking.
Large organisations might hire these types of hackers to make sure that their websites have fewer issues.
Their skills include social engineering, penetration testing, reconnaissance and research, programming, and using a variety of digital and physical tools.
- Grey hat hacker
Grey hat hackers lie between black hat and white hat hackers. They might sometimes violate laws or ethical standards, like breaking into a computer system without the approval of the owner or their permission.
Kaspersky says that grey hat hackers often mean no harm but are mostly curious about hacking high-profile systems without any regard to numerous laws or potential risks to their decisions.
One of the most popular grey hat hacking examples that Kaspersky mentions is when, Khalil Shreateh, an unemployed computer security researcher hacked the Facebook page of Mark Zuckerberg. He wanted to correct a security bug he discovered which allowed him to post to any user’s page without their consent. Apparently, he had informed Facebook about the bug but was told there was actually no bug. He wanted to prove he was right.
- Script kiddies
A script kiddie is an unskilled cybercriminal who uses existing scripts, software, or programmes developed by others to launch cyber attacks. They don’t know how to develop scripts on their own and they don’t even how the tools they use work, they simply want to impress or cause havoc.
Script kiddies are more dangerous than any hacker there is out there because they don’t know what they are doing.
By Zintle Nkohla
Follow Zintle Nkohla
Follow IT News Africa