Different Types of Hackers: Why They Hack

by Megha Shah - February 28, 2020
Megha Shah

Megha Shah | A dreamer, traveler, aspiring entrepreneur and a bookworm beyond repair, Megha Shah is extremely fond of writing and has been doing so since she was a child. Apart from being a part-time writer, Megha is currently in college, pursuing B. Com. (Hons). Megha is an ardent follower of ‘Hardship, Hustle and Heart’ and firmly believes in the power of ...

The Article Describes The Types of Hackers and What They Do

The word “hackers” is most likely a familiar term to almost everyone. However, not everyone knows the entire concept of hacking including their targets, different hacking techniques, types of hackers, and their motives.

The challenge is that many individuals have erroneous assumptions, for instance, believing that only few or certain people can be the victims of hacking and not everyone, or that all hackers are criminals and international terrorists. These are false misconceptions that would be debunked during the exposition of this content.

Who is a Hacker?

A computer hacker is a skilled computer expert who uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. Although the term “hacker” can basically refer to any skilled computer programmer, it has however become more synonymous with the idea of a security hacker; that is, a person who, with their technical knowledge, uses bugs or exploits to break into computer systems.

The definition of a hacker is therefore “someone who is able to subvertcomputer security. If the reasons are based on ulterior motives, the person can also be called a “cracker”.

Now that you know who a hacker is, you may be wondering: “why do they do what they do?” Primarily, there are about four motives behind the actions of hackers attempt to break into computer systems.

The first motive is monetary gain, especially when it involves breaking into systems with the specific purpose of stealing credit card numbers or manipulating banking systems.

Second, some hackers act for egoistic motives; to increase their reputation within the hacker subculture, leaving their signatures on the system or network after a breach.

Third, corporate spies allow organizations to possess information on services and products that may be hijacked or used as a leverage within the marketplace.

Lastly, some hackers do it for patriotic reasons; as in state-sponsored cyber attacks during wartime.

( Also Read: Top Ways to Protect Your Identity from Hackers )

Different Types of Hackers

Just as knowing the techniques used by hackers is important, it is equally necessary that you know the types of computer hackers out there today.

  1. Black Hat Hacker

    Basically, these are the “bad guys”. They are the types of hackers who break into computer networks with purely negative motives such as monetary gain or reputation.

  2. White Hat Hacker

    As opposed to the black hat, these are the “good guys”. They are ethical hackers who create algorithms to break existing internet networks so as tosolve the loopholes in them.

  3. Grey Hat Hacker

    Basically, these are hackers who exploit the internet systems only to make public, certain vast datasets of information that would be of benefit to everyone. They don’t possess the bad intentions of black hats.

  4. Blue Hat Hacker

    In one word, this is the amateur. Usually, their techniques are deployed out of ill motives such as revenge attacks.

  5. Red Hat Hacker

    The objective of a red hat hacker is to find black hat hackers, intercept and destroy their schemes.

  6. Script Kiddie

    This refers to the newbies. They don’t cause excessive damage; they use downloaded hacking software or purchased scripts to bombard traffic sites or simply disrupt the regular activity of a website.

  7. Green Hat Hacker

    This is the set of individuals who simply want to observe and learn about the world of hacking. It comprises those who join learning communities to watch videos and tutorials about hacking.

  8. Social Engineering Hackers

    These are hackers who use psychological manipulation to make people to divulge private contents or to perform certain actions. It is a more complex crime scheme.

  9. Hactivists

    These are the types of hackers who break into systems and networks just to draw attention towards an alarming social cause.

  10. Cyber Terrorist:

    These are politically motivated attackers who break into computer systems to stir up violence against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.

  11. State/Nation Sponsored Hackers:

    These are hackers who are employed by a country to attack the cybersphere of another nation or international agency as a result of warfare or to retrieve/steal information.

  12. Malicious Insider/Whistle-blower Hacker

    These are the types of computer hackers who leak sensitive information from within an organization, especially data under the umbrella of government agencies.

  13. Elite Hackers

    These are individuals who are considered the “cutting-edge geniuses”. They are the real experts and the innovators in the field of hacking.

( Download Whitepaper: Different Types of Hackers )

The History of Hackers

The history of hackers can be traced back to the 1960s at MIT. There, extremely skilled individuals practiced hardcore programming in FORTRAN and other older languages. The history of hackers came to be with certain innovative landmarks.

First, in 1969, Bell Labs employee, Ken Thompson, invented UNIX and greatly changed the future of the computer industry. Then, later in the very early 1970s, Dennis Ritchie invented the computer programming language “C” which was specifically invented to be used with UNIX.

No one seemed to pay attention to hackers back in the 1960s when this was the most widely accepted reputation. As a matter of fact, majority of officials had no knowledge about what hacking was. The term hacker was accepted as a positive label slapped onto computer geniuses who could push computer systems beyond the defined limits. After hackers emerged out of the artificial intelligence labs at MIT in the 1960s, a network known as ARPANET was founded by the Department of Defense as a means to link government offices. As decades passed away, ARPANET evolved into what is now known as the Internet.

Two of the first known hackers in history are Captain Crunch and Kevin Mitnick. In the 1970s, “Captain Crunch” devised a way to make free long-distance calls. Later, groups of phone hackers, dubbed “phreakers” emerged. During the 1980s, the art of hacking was not common amongst the masses as it is in contemporary times. To be a hacker was to be a part of a very exclusive and secluded group.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hackers

Q. What types of digital evidence are used to detect hackers?

A. These evidences are called forensic digital evidences. For instance, just opening a computer file changes the file; the computer records the time and date it was accessed on the file itself. Forensic software is also used to discover and analyze evidence stored on a digital media.

Q. What types of data are more valuable to hackers?

A. According to a plethora of sources, the most valuable data to hackers are medical data. This is because it strategically helps then to plan their next course of action. However, other types of data including financial records, government records and social media activities are also valuable to hackers.

Q. How Long Does It Take to Launch an Account Based Marketing Campaign?

A. You could launch your account-based marketing campaign in as little as a week or it can take much longer than that. How long it takes depends upon the nature of the campaign, the length of the campaign, and perhaps how many resources, how much time, and how much money is involved.

Q. What types of technologies can prevent hackers from stealing information?

A. Technically speaking, hackers can be stopped through the use of advanced and updated software. Examples are McAfee Security Scan Plus, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, Bitdefender (Editor’s pick), Malwarebytes Anti-Malware etc.

Q. What type of industries are looking to hackers for solutions?

A. Basically, all industries need hackers (ethical hackers) for solutions to their vulnerability against malicious hackers. However, the top industries that need them most range from banking and finance, healthcare, online retail companies, and government agencies. These are undoubtedly the prime targets for most hackers.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, the rate of hacker activities is on the rise, and ANYBODY around you can be an unsuspected hacker. Be sure to always keep your passwords private, and don’t save your passwords on browsers and sites. Make your passwords revolve around things that cannot easily be deduced from your lifestyle. Don’t share your passwords, and always be vigilant when inputting them.

Megha Shah

Megha Shah | A dreamer, traveler, aspiring entrepreneur and a bookworm beyond repair, Megha Shah is extremely fond of writing and has been doing so since she wa...

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