White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers: What’s the Difference?

White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers: What’s the Difference?

5 mins read9.9K Views Comment
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Aug 9, 2023 17:50 IST

White and black hat hackers are the two most popular types of hackers. Many people, however, are puzzled as they don’t know the difference between these two types of hackers. In this article, we will go through White Hat Vs Black Hat Hackers


When we hear the term ‘hacker’, most of us relate it to cybercriminals. However, not all hackers are cybercriminals. Some companies hire them to stop cyber attacks. Based on their intent of hacking a system, hackers are broadly categorized into White Hat and Black Hat Hackers. In this blog, we will learn more about these two types of hackers and their techniques. We will also explore the difference between White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers.

Table of Contents

Must explore: Types Of Hackers To Be Aware Of In 2022

Who is a White Hat Hacker?

White hat hackers are cybersecurity professionals who are authorized or certified to hack organizational networks and computer systems. They use their expertise and skills to find vulnerabilities in systems.

Typically, large organizations, businesses, and governments hire white hat hackers to identify security vulnerabilities before black hat hackers can. White hat hackers spot and fix the weaknesses in the security systems and safeguard them against external attacks and data breaches. They are also known as ethical hackers.

Ethical hackers, thus, do not intend to harm a system. Instead, they find loopholes in a system as a part of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

White hat hackers usually have a good degree of technical expertise and broad skills in programming, networking, and IT.

What are the motives of white hat hackers?

These hackers help businesses in identifying loopholes and gaps in networks’ security and solve them before cybercriminals can find them. They aim to prevent cybersecurity attacks.

Roles & Responsibilities of White Hat Hackers

Here are some of the key roles and responsibilities of white hat hackers:

  • Identify threats, risks, and weaknesses from open ports
  • Employing social engineering 
  • Analyzing patch installations
  • Assessing firewall systems
  • Protecting networks 

Gain an in-depth understanding of ethical hacking, read our post – What is Ethical Hacking?

Who is a Black Hat Hacker?

Black hat hackers are cybercriminals who find computer security vulnerabilities and exploit them for malicious reasons or financial gain. They gain unauthorized access to systems and harm their operations or steal sensitive information.

Black hat hackers are knowledgeable computer professionals with the wrong intention. They have advanced technical knowledge and skills that help them navigate the cybersecurity landscape. Due to its bad intent, such as damaging the system, stealing sensitive data, violating privacy, etc., black hat hacking is illegal.

You can also explore: What Is A Black Hat Hacker & What Can He Do?

Black hat hackers can target individual computer users and large organizations to steal sensitive or personal data that can financially compromise a business. They can also compromise the security of major systems or alter the function of websites and networks.

What are the motives of black hat hackers?

They break into computer networks and systems with malicious intent. They aim to profit from data breaches.

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Difference Between White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers

Here are the key differences between white hat hackers and black hat hackers:

White Hat Hackers Black Hat Hackers
The intentions of white hat hackers are noble. The intentions of black hat hackers are selfish.  
They aim to protect other individuals and organizations against cybercriminals. They intend to harm others by stealing sensitive data, damaging the system, etc.
White hat hacking is legal as white hat hackers have the permission of the system owner. Hacking performed by black hat hackers is illegal.
Large organizations, businesses, and government agencies hire white hat hackers to identify loopholes in their security systems. They do hacking without authorization or permission of the owner.
White hat hackers identify security gaps and provide solutions to fix them before cybercriminals can find those gaps. They identify weaknesses in the security system to exploit them.
They make people aware of cybersecurity risks and the ways to prevent them. Black hat hackers misuse the lack of awareness of users about cyber threats to manipulate or defraud them.
They develop security tools and software to identify and remove malware. Black hat hackers create malware to hack into systems.

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We hope you found this blog on the difference between white hat hackers vs black hat hackers informative. To learn about cyber security and ethical hacking, read our blog – Difference between Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking.


What are the different types of hackers?

There are six different types of hackers: White hat, Grey hat, Black hat, Blue hat, Green hat, and Red hat.

What is the key difference between white hat and black hat hackers?

White hat hackers are security specialists who use hacking methods to identify security flaws to protect a network or computer system from cybercriminals. On the other hand, black hat hackers find security loopholes to exploit them for their financial profit or malicious reasons.

Who is a grey hat hacker?

Grey hat hackers are a combination of both white hat and black hat hackers. They perform hacking without permission from the administrators of the network they are hacking. But they will expose the network vulnerabilities to the network administrators and offer a solution for the loophole for money. Grey hat hackers intend to identify weaknesses in the system, bring them to the attention of the owners, and get appreciation or compensation from the owners. Grey hat hackers do not have authorization or permission to access the system. Thus, their activities are considered illegal, even if they find any vulnerabilities and share them with the network administrators.

Who is a green hat hacker?

Green hat hackers are individuals who are new to hacking. They are focused on building and improving their cyberattack skills. They intend to gain knowledge on performing cyberattacks and evolve into full-fledged hackers. Green hat hackers may not have a clear motivation at the stage they are in. They can either become black or white hat hackers.

What exactly is a black hat in cyber security?

In cybersecurity, hackers with malicious intent who gain unauthorized access to computer networks and systems are called a black hats.

What techniques do black hat hackers employ?

Black hat attackers employ a variety of techniques, including: Phishing Key Logger Cookie theft ClickJacking attacks Denial of Service attacks, etc.

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About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio


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