The 7 Types of Hackers and How IT Support Can Protect You

Hackers and IT Support

For businesses, individuals, and even governments, digital storage and IT security are innovations which make the world turn today. To be a part of this world, it is imperative to use risk management to keep your personal data and information as safe as possible from cyber crime, malicious software like malware, and attacks.

The intricacies of this subject are too many to name, so let’s start with the basics. Know the rules, the risks, the vulnerabilities, and the players. The actions you will take to prevent unauthorized access and attacks from a cyber criminal will depend on how much information you have on the possible threats.

Small businesses are the biggest security risk as they are being targeted by hackers more than ever before. On average, 60% of small businesses who suffer a cyber attack from criminals and malicious software will go out of business within six months. And, the total cost of repair to an infected network is over $600,000. The success of a business relies on the effectiveness of its IT infrastructure and IT support services to eliminate the risk of security breaches.

Though we have all heard the term “hacker” in a negative connotation linked with cyber criminals, the hacking culture is not a dangerous one. In fact, hackers are responsible for the IT security which we enjoy today and most likely any piece of sophisticated technology you now use. Every tech innovation is made on some level by some kind of hacker, of which there are seven. For some, hackers can make the best IT professionals and often do.

Types of Hackers

To be a “hacker” means one knows how to manipulate and navigate computer code to gain entry into a telecommunications device, program, or platform. Hackers are highly-skilled individuals in IT networking, cyber security, and computer script writing.

The negative connotation associated with hacking comes from the disruptive hackers who carry out cyber attacks, called Black Hats, who aim to cause a crime. However, hacking is an honorable craft, which defines the bounds of the IT cyber security industry, and there are several classifications of hackers.

●     Script Kiddie

Script Kiddies are not hackers. They do not write the code which they use. Instead, they copy code to use that others have written. Script Kiddies download software and watch videos on how to use it. A DoS (Denial of Service) attack is often done by one or many Script Kiddies.

●     Green Hat

If a script kiddie takes the next step of intricacy into the hacking world, they are Green Hats. They are the new kids on the block and have a desire to become better, as well as a true respect for hacking as a craft. Green hats are the question askers. They inquire all over the Internet about processes, techniques, and know-how.

●     Blue Hat

Blue Hats are a Script Kiddie turned Green Hat. However, instead of the study of hacking craft, they want to wreak havoc on those whom they dislike or have been rude to them in the past. These are people who are interested in hacking because of the destruction and vindictive revenge in which they can exact. However, Blue Hats are not skilled hackers. They more resemble a Script Kiddie who does not intend to continue their learning.

●     White Hat

The “good guys” of the hacking world, White Hats are also called “Ethical Hackers.” In fact, White Hat Hackers can only be known as such professionally if they have been certified. The CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification is popular amongst IT security and computer science college degree holders. These hackers often work for IT consultants and cyber security services, removing computer viruses and malware.

●     Gray Hat

Gray Hat Hackers comprise the vast majority of the hacking world. They are not the heroes, they are not the villains, they are in fact the “silent majority.” Gray Hat Hackers use their skills for whatever they want and do not commit cyber crimes or invasions, but they do not go out of their way to “do good”. They rarely draw attention from the public or the media.

●     Black Hat

Black Hats are the ones who are all over the news stations when bad stuff happens and the ones for which we implement IT security teams to guard our businesses against. These hackers can be known as “Crackers,” in reference to cracking the code to a vault safe. They target financial institutions, corporations, businesses, and individuals with weak spots in their IT security.

They can steal money or data to sell to other Black Hats who will use personal data to extract money. Black Hats are skilled and talented craftspeople, some call artists. Often, they use skills learned early in their hacking career and over time expand on the simple base of their software for targeted use.

●     Red Hat

If the Black Hats of the hacking world are like the Joker, the Red Hats are Batman. Red Hats are vigilantes, like the White Hats, in that they are skilled, experienced, and have a desire to do good. However, Red Hats have the prowess and ruthlessness of a Black Hat, and if not for their ethical center, they could easily become one. But, instead, they are the fear of Black Hats.

Red Hats take the law into their own hands when they catch a Black Hat. Often, they will eradicate every piece of digital storage the Black Hat has while destroying the hardware, software, and all personally held information.

Whereas Black Hats are good enough at hacking to steal other people’s data, Red Hats are higher in the food chain. They are often too smart for petty crime and take more pleasure in demolishing the attempt to corrupt the Internet with criminal activity. Their tactics are just as ruthless, if not more so than Black Hats, but they are targeting the “bad guys.” These are also the hackers who make the best managed IT service teams if they so choose, and who remain completely anonymous as such.

Although hackers have certainly contributed to the IT world in terms of technology and security features, their skills paired with dangerous intentions can be detrimental to a small or medium sized business. Knowledge is power and by being able to differentiate between the different types of hackers, your company will be armed with the smarts to protect itself against cyber attacks.

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