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6 Types of Hackers

Hacking is the process of gaining unauthorized access to a computer network or an electronic device. Individuals breach into a system either to cause harm or to highlight vulnerabilities in existing security measures.

There are some others whose motives remain ambiguous or even double-sided. Hackers are of six main types-

  1. White Hat Hacker
  2. White Hat Hacker
  3. Grey Hat Hacker
  4. Red Hat Hacker
  5. Hacktivist
  6. Script Kiddie


White Hat Hacker

White hat hackers are the ethical hackers who use their skills to discover loopholes in existing cybersecurity measures to help fix them. These individuals are in high demand from companies that routinely handle sensitive data, in addition to government agencies that are responsible for national security. In the current internet era, white hat hackers are in high demand since the number of cybercrimes has increased drastically.

Private corporations often recruit white hat hackers as a part of an in-house IT security team. Moreover, white hat hackers also work as freelance cybersecurity consultants and participate in bug bounty programs. Companies that offer bug bounty programs generously reward ethical hackers who can discover and highlight exploitable vulnerabilities.

White hat hackers think almost exactly like Black Hat hackers and will try to breach into computer systems using every possible way. However, they do not steal any information or cause disruption. White hat hacking techniques are extremely useful in looking for loopholes that may endanger confidential information.

Black Hat Hacker

Black hat hackers are malicious individuals in cyberspace who try and break into systems & networks to steal confidential information. In addition to stealing, a black hat hacker may also delete or modify certain crucial files to cause disruption and inflict losses. These individuals have stimulated the need for cybersecurity.

In the span of one year between 2013-14, Yahoo suffered one of the worst data breaches in history. The internet giant disclosed that nearly all the 3 billion user accounts had been compromised. The stolen data included names, dates of birth, email addresses, and passwords. Moreover, it was also revealed that hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Yahoo accounts have also been stolen.

This was perhaps the worst cyberattack in history, severely affecting Yahoo’s reputation and reducing its valuation significantly prior to its sale to Verizon.

In 2018, luxury hotel chain Marriott International announced that hackers had stolen data of nearly 500 million customers. The stolen information included passport information, contact details, and travel plans. Additionally, Marriott also lost credit card information of about 100 million customers to the attack.

Black hat hackers will use any means necessary to gain unauthorized access into systems and cause disruption. They continue to evolve their methods as a response to growing cybersecurity awareness.


Grey Hat Hacker

Grey hat hackers use methods that are similar to those of white and black hat hackers. However, they do not have any malicious intentions. These are among the most common types of hackers on the internet. A grey hat hacker may breach into a company’s private servers, but instead of stealing information, will notify the management about the vulnerability.

Sometimes the hacker may also offer to fix it for a fee. They neither steal data nor do they offer their services as security experts. But they don’t particularly concern themselves with the cybersecurity of others.

Numerous companies maintain secure databases at several locations. A grey hat hacker usually tries to find ways of illegally acquiring such confidential information. If an exploitable vulnerability is indeed present, the hacker contacts the company’s officials to inform them about it, so that appropriate action can be taken.

Red Hat Hackers

Red hat hackers are similar to policing agents on the internet. They actively search for black hat hackers and shut them down. Whenever they find one, they don’t report the hacker to the authorities, but take matters into their own hands. A red hat hacker will hack the would-be attackers’ computer and halt their malicious activities.

For instance, a red hat hacker can overload a black hacker’s network to block his attempts. Furthermore, some red hat hacker may also employ aggressive methods that may completely wipe-out a black hat hacker’s computer.
In addition to acting individually, groups of red hat hackers may also team up to attack multiple black hat hackers.


Hacktivists are hackers who seek to garner publicity for a certain cause by hacking into the systems or websites of relevant organizations. A Hacktivist may deface the website of a particular company or government agency to protest against certain policies and bring it to the public’s attention and raise awareness.

One of the most famous hacktivist groups operating online is called Anonymous. The group achieved global publicity for its efforts against the terrorist outfit ISIS. Anonymous successfully brought down nearly 150 websites associated with ISIS, in addition to identifying nearly 1,00,000 twitter accounts and 5000 videos used to spread propaganda and hate.

Wikileaks is another famous example of Hacktivism. The organization successfully acquired and released thousands of classified government documents relating to the US war in Afghanistan. The leaked documents highlighted several instances of US soldiers killing Afghan civilians and reporting them as collateral damage.

In addition to this, Wikileaks published documents pointing to malpractices aimed at sabotaging the 2016 election campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Script Kiddies

A script kiddie is an amateur hacker who is only aware of basic hacking techniques. Script kiddies are unlikely to cause significant damage. Such people mainly use open-source hacking software or borrow it from people they know. Script kiddies don’t pose significant threat to anyone’s data and are potential hackers at best. Such individuals can deface a poorly protected website or slow it down by redirecting more traffic.

An increasingly connected digital world maximizes the threat of cybercrime manifold. As more internet companies emerge, the dearth of trained cybersecurity professionals creates exciting career opportunities. As a result, it provides a brilliant opportunity for governments to bolster employment and make the internet safer.

Sign up for cybersecurity courses at the Texial to become a highly sought-after ethical hacker. Learn from experienced industry professionals with hands-on training sessions to forge a lucrative career.

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