Types Of Hackers To Be Aware Of In 2024

Types Of Hackers To Be Aware Of In 2024

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Jan 8, 2024 14:07 IST

What do you think we’re talking about when you hear these words, black hat, white hat, grey hat, red hat, blue hat, green hat? Is this a list of caps available in a clothing store’s catalog? No, these aren’t items from a clothing catalog; they’re among the various types of hackers in the cybersecurity industry.

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The cybersecurity industry has twelve different types of hackers. But, before we get into the different types of hackers, let’s understand what is a hacker? Let’s quickly review the topics we’ll be discussing in this blog:

You can also explore: What is Cyber Security?

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What is a hacker?

A hacker is an individual who uses a computer system to gain unauthorized access to another system for data or one who disables another individual’s system. These hackers will use their skills for a specific purpose, such as stealing money, gaining fame by bringing a computer system or network down, or even destroying them.

Hackers circumvent security measures to gain unauthorized access to computers, phones, tablets, IoT devices, networks devices, or entire computing systems. Hackers also exploit flaws in network security to gain access. The flaws can be either technical or social.

Technical flaws: Hackers can gain unauthorized access by exploiting software vulnerabilities or lax security practices. A hacker, for example, can inject malware into the system to gain knowledge about it and exploit its technical flaws.

Social flaws: Hackers can use social engineering to persuade individuals with access privileges to click on malicious sites, open malicious programs, or expose personal details, allowing them to gain access to the system. 

However, we must keep in mind that there are many types of hackers, each with a specific goal, and not all are bad guys.

Types of Hackers 

As I mentioned, there are different types of hackers, and not all are criminals. There are six major and six other types of hackers. Some of these hackers are employed by various government and private organizations to prevent hackers from causing harm to the organization or an individual in any way possible. 

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That being said, let us now go over the various types of hackers one by one, starting with the major types of hackers.

White Hat Hacker 

Definition: A white hat hacker, also known as an ethical hacker, is an individual who uses hacking skills to identify security vulnerabilities in hardware, software, or networks.

These hackers hack the system, but only the systems they have been granted access to, to test its security. Governments or organizations typically hire white hat hackers to audit their security measures.

Motives: To assist businesses and the government in preventing cyberattacks and checking the security of their systems.

Who is the most vulnerable: Hackers who commit cybercrime.

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Black Hat Hacker

Definition: A black hat hacker, also known as a criminal hacker, is an individual who infiltrates computer networks with malicious intent, distributes malware, holds computers hostage, or steals usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, and other confidential info.

These hackers frequently have no regard for the rule of law, the systems they disrupt, or the harm they cause. Some of the most common attacks that black hat hackers use are: Phishing, Trojan Horse, Spyware, Salami, Adware, Brute Force, Identity Theft, Ransomware, Man-in-the-Middle, Smishing, Logic Bomb, Clickjacking, Denial-of-Service, and so on.

Motives: Thrill of exploiting a system, profit from the data breach, specific information on the system, to use the system as a “pivot” to target other systems within the same network or any combination of these.

Who is the most vulnerable: The most vulnerable are organizations that black hat hackers target in order to steal sensitive data that can financially jeopardize a business.

For better understanding, you can also explore: What Is A Black Hat Hacker & What Can He Do?

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Gray Hat Hacker

Definition: A grey hat hacker is an individual who discovers ways to hack into computer networks and systems but does not have the malicious intent of a black hat hacker.

This hacker is a hybrid of white and black hat hackers, and most of their activities are purely recreational. Gray hat hackers almost never exploit the vulnerabilities they discover.

Motives: Personal enjoyment, the thrill of breaching the system, and even their curiosity to know about confidential information.

Who is the most vulnerable: Every individual, organization, and government body who doesn’t want their system defenses to be breached.

Green Hat Hacker

Definition: A green hat hacker is an individual who strives and learns to become a full-fledged hacker, i.e., a hacking newbie.

A green hat hacker is a newcomer to the world of hacking. These types of hackers may not intend to cause harm to others, but they may do so while honing their cyberattack skills.

Motive: To learn how to become a skilled hacker

Who is the most vulnerable: Every person whose system defenses are weak and can be an easy testing target.

Blue Hat Hacker

Definition: A blue hat hacker is an individual who organizations hire to bug-test a new software or system network before it’s released.

These types of hackers do not belong to the consulting firms that want to test their new software or system. Blue hat hackers conduct penetration testing and deploy various cyber attacks to test the software or system’s defenses, but they do so without causing harm.

Motive: Identify security flaws in new organizational software before it is released.

Who is the most vulnerable: Criminal hackers, such as black hat hackers.

Red Hat Hacker

Definition: A red hat hacker, also known as an Eagle-Eyed hacker, is an individual hired by government agencies to spot security systems vulnerabilities, explicitly focusing on finding and disarming black hat hackers.

These types of hackers are very similar to white hat hackers because both of them are ethical and vigilante hackers. The major hacking group like Anonymous lies in the red hat hacker category.

Motive: Tracking and eliminating black hat hackers

Who is the most vulnerable: Black hat hackers

Now that we’ve covered the major category of types of hackers let’s look at the subcategory of types of hackers.

Gaming Hacker

Definition: A gaming hacker is an individual who steals credit caches from competitors (professional gamers) or causes DDoS attacks to knock them out of the game.

According to one estimate, the video game industry will be worth $256.97 billion by 2025. As a result, it is not surprising that a fraction of gaming hackers has emerged.

Motive: To steal credit caches from competitors and compromise their game

Who is the most vulnerable: Notable gamers

Botnets Hacker

Definition: A botnet hacker is an individual who develops bots to carry out high-volume attacks against as many devices as possible.

This type of hacker uses bots in order to attack IoT (Internet of Things) devices whose main purpose is to find unsecured devices or devices that still have their default login credentials intact in order to plant themselves in and cause damage.

Motive: To jeopardize a large number of network systems

Who is the most vulnerable: Unsecured IoT devices, such as a camera, routers, etc.

Script Kiddies 

Definition: A script kiddie is an individual who lacks programming knowledge and launches an attack using existing scripts.

These types of hackers frequently use existing scripts from other fellow hackers without understanding how they operate or what they accomplish. This type of hacker is called childish, but it can pose a severe internet and security threat.

Motive: To cause a commotion

Who is the most vulnerable: Individuals and organizations with unsecured networks and system

Hacktivist Hacker 

Definition: A hacktivist hacker is an individual who attacks computer systems for political reasons.

These hackers breach government networks and systems in order to attract attention to a social or political cause. They use hacking as a method of protest.

Motive: To put a spotlight on a troubling social or political issue

Who is the most vulnerable: Government organizations

Cryptojackers 

Definition: A cryptojacker is an individual who utilizes security flaws and steals computer resources in order to mine for cryptocurrencies.

These hackers just want the advantages of mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without the high costs. Cryptojacking allows these hackers to mine for cryptocurrency without having to pay for expensive mining hardware or large electricity bills.

Motive: Cryptocurrency mining

Who is the most vulnerable: Individuals and organizations with unsecured networks and system

State/Nation Sponsored Hacker

Definition: A state/nation-sponsored hacker is an individual a country’s government appoints to gain access to another country’s computer systems.

These hackers use their knowledge to obtain classified data from other nations in order to be adequately ready for any potential threats to their country.

Motive: To keep an eye on and avert foreign threats

Who is the most vulnerable: International criminals and hackers

How to prevent yourself from these types of hackers? 

Some of the most common ways to prevent yourself from various types of hackers are:

  • Install a firewall.
  • Encrypt your data.
  • Set up antivirus software.
  • Remove your browsing history.
  • Install an anti-spyware application.
  • Make use of two-factor authentication.
  • Keep your operating system, apps, and browser up to date.
  • When you’re not using your device, turn off features like location.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access personal or financial information.
  • Do not use the link or open the attachment if unsure about the source.
  • Only download apps from reputable sources that have a good reputation.
  • Configure your device to lock after a certain number of unsuccessful log-in attempts.
  • Make your passwords at least eight characters long, with a mix of upper and lower case and numbers or other characters, and never use the password auto-complete feature.

Conclusion

Hackers are computer and programming experts who exploit network gaps to access private information and files. Some hackers are “good,” while others, such as black hat hackers, want to cause harm. Protecting yourself from such types of hackers is critical to keeping your files and other information safe; therefore, rather than being sorry later, follow the preventive measures outlined above!

FAQs

How many types of hackers are there?

There are twelve types of hackers, such as: White hat hackers Black hat hackers Gray hat hackers Green hat hackers Blue hat hackers Red hat hackers Gaming hackers Botnets hackers Script kiddies Hacktivist hacker Cryptojackers State/Nation sponsored hackers

What are three main types of hackers?

Three main types of hackers are: Black Hat Hacker, White Hat Hacker, and Grey Hat Hacker.

Which types of hackers are also known as criminal hackers?

A black hat hacker, also known as a criminal hacker, is an individual who infiltrates computer networks with malicious intent, distributes malware, holds computers hostage, or steals usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, and other confidential info.

Which types of hackers are also known as ethical hackers?

A white hat hacker, also known as an ethical hacker, is an individual who uses hacking skills to identify security vulnerabilities in hardware, software, or networks.

Which types of hackers are also known as hacking newbies?

A green hat hacker is an individual who strives and learns to become a full-fledged hacker, i.e., a hacking newbie.

Which types of hackers are also known as Eagle-Eyed hackers?

A red hat hacker, also known as an Eagle-Eyed hacker, is an individual hired by government agencies to spot security systems vulnerabilities, explicitly focusing on finding and disarming black hat hackers.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio

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