Both Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker try what seems impossible, risky, and pointless, but for different reasons.
Picture this. A shabby guy with a dark hoodie is furiously typing, in a dark basement, late into the night. The only thing visible is a faint green glow. It is what we see about hackers in most movies. So, it is natural to think hackers mean cybercriminals who defraud others. But the reality is far from that. Of course, there are bad people involved in malicious acts; but there are good people also. Hackers are broadly categorized as Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker. Want to know about them and their differences? Read on.
Why the name
The terms ‘White Hat’ and ‘Black Hat’ originate from old movies where good guys used to wear white hats and bad guys wear dark hats. These names tell if they have ethical or malicious motivations.
Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker differences at a glance
Black hat hackers
- Selfish intentions for harming others
- Do illegal hacking
- Infiltrate & controls systems without permission
- Exploit security vulnerabilities for personal gain
- Use malware for hacking
- Take advantage of user’s lack of awareness and defraud
- Steal sensitive data
White hat hackers
- Noble intentions to benefit others
- Do legal hacking
- Penetrate systems with permission
- Track security vulnerabilities to fix them
- Develop security software to remove malware
- Educate users about threats and mitigate them
- Protect sensitive data
Who are Black Hat Hackers?
Knowing who Black Hackers are is vital to find the difference between Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker. Black Hat Hackers use their skills for defrauding and harming others. They do it for
- Financial gain
- Ruining others reputation for revenge
- Proving their fanatic views
- Sadistic pleasure
- Political agenda
- Creating chaos & panic
- Gaining notoriety
What do they do?
Among the Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker, the former is always engaged in cybercriminal activities. They do this for a wide range of cyberattacks and even spy on international agencies. Black Hat Hackers write various malware and malicious codes like Trojan horse, Computer worms, Botnets, Rootkits. They develop malware and distribute them to weaken the security threads of a device or system. Black Hat hackers mostly do the following activities.
- Phishing attacks: They do it by sending a phishing email or a text message impersonating a trustworthy individual or organization. These are for money transfers for fake emergencies or phony charities.
- Exploit security vulnerabilities: They find out the weak areas in a device or system, use that for entering, and exploit them for their gain. Individuals and organizations using outdated operating systems, software, etc become a soft target of the Black Hat hackers.
- Scam with fake profiles: Black Hat hackers create fake social media profiles for extracting confidential, financial, and personal information. They also hack profiles and send malware as attachments or links to the target’s contacts.
- Blackmail victims: Black Hat Hackers use ransomware or spyware for blackmailing their victims. They lock a device by inserting ransomware and then demand ransom for gaining access. Sometimes, they use spyware for monitoring the activities of their victims and threaten to expose personal files, photos, etc to the public if they are not paid.
- Political espionage: Some Black Hat Hackers steal confidential security, environment, bi-lateral treaties between nations, elections, etc, and create political unrest by releasing those.
- Sell sensitive information: Black Hat hackers also sell sensitive and confidential data to the dark alley market. The buyers use them for identity theft and financial fraud.
Who are White Hat Hackers?
Hackers are broadly classified as Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker. White Hat Hackers are the goodies among them. They use their skills and expertise to save the world from the Black Hat Hackers. For this reason, they are also known as ethical hackers and legit hackers.
These people do the same thing as the Black Hat Hackers do, but with the permission of the owner or the authorities. You can find them as security specialists, information security analysts, cybersecurity researchers, etc in many organizations. White Hat Hackers also work as consultants and freelancers.
What do they do?
One must know what White Hat Hackers do for differentiating Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker.
White Hat Hackers mainly do the following
- Educate users about threats and their prevention
- Spot the system vulnerabilities and fix them
- Helps individuals and organizations to improve their security
- Develop software for detection and removal of malware
- Make contingency plans when there is a cyber attack
Their activities include
- Penetration testing: It involves testing a device, software, network, and web application for finding security flaws or bugs. Unlike the Black Hat Hackers, the White Hat Hackers do this with permission. It helps individuals and businesses to protect themselves from the exploitations of Black Hat Hackers.
- Development of security products: White Hat Hackers also do the job of a programmer. They develop security products like antivirus, antimalware, antispyware, data filters, firewalls, honeypots, and security extensions. Moreover, White Hat Hackers help to identify DDoS attacks, Brute force attacks, Cross-site scripting, and SQL injections.
- Make organizations complaint: Companies that handle sensitive data of the users must comply with HIPPA, PCI DSS, GDPR, etc. White Hat Hackers ensure that the organizations meet the latest security standards and laws.
- Educate Users: White Hat Hackers educate users about identifying and preventing cyber attacks. They also help organizations to build up defenses against cybercrimes.
So, you know that all hackers are not the same. They could be a dreadful villain or a superhero, based on what they do. Some exploit their knowledge and skill to exploit individuals and businesses, and others protect them. But both Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker look at a problem in a way different from others. Hope you will not think negatively about all hackers in the future.