Hackers: which and how many kind of them exist

When someone uses the word “Hacker“, he/she usually refers to someone who is expert of computer security and hardware and use this knowledge to leverage systems’ vulnerability to perform an attack.

The word is used improperly in this case. Hacker has not a negative meaning: it simply indicates someone who has the knowledge to infiltrate an informatic system. Normally, this is done to discover the vulnerabilities of the system and find solution to protect it.

Different types of hacker acts towards different types of objectives, and in different ways. Let’s discover which are them.

Main kinds…

White hat hackers

AKA “ethical hackers”, they are expert in cyber security and performs penetration testing and others to find vulnerabilities. They usually works for companies or government, with the aim of enforcing system security and protect it from cyber attacks.

Kevin Mitnick, one of the most famous ethical hacker. Credits: grupobcc.com

Black hat hackers

The counterpart of white hats, also known as “crackers”. Those are the people behind the cyercrimes. They look for vulnerabilities in the systems (both of an individual or an entire company) to obtain sensitive informations and use them to their advantage.

Grey hat hackers

This category is between the first two. They don’t use the informations to their advantages, but their intention can be good or bad. The important concept is that their effort to infiltrate a system are not authorized by an organization. Let’s say this hacker finds a vulnerability in a system, that can belong to the government or an organization, and spread this discover through the internet: is he a black hat? No, because he’s not using the information to his advantage. On the contrary, if he send the informations about the vulnerability only to the owner of the attacked system, he can’t be considered a white hat because he acted without permission.

Nation sponsored hackers

This kind of hackers comprehends all those security experts who have been recruited by the government with the aim of collecting sensitive information of other countries. Those hackers can use the most advanced tools to attack the systems, as they are funded by the government.

Fancy Bear logo, one of the most famous group of governative hackers. Credits: crowdstrike.com

… and their nuances

Script kiddies

Script kiddies are amateur hackers who are not interested in learning and having informatic knowledge. Usually, they use pre-built tools and scripts just for fun with friends. They don’t want to learn how to create and perpetrate an attack, nor the quality of it.

Green hat hackers

They’re similar to script kiddies for level of knowledge, but there’s a fundamental difference: green hats wants to learn really bad. Forums online about IT security are full of this type of hacker, as they ask a lot of questions to learn as much as possible.

Hackaday website
Hackadat is one of the most visited websites to learn hacking. Credits: 3dprint.com

Blue hat hackers

All the script kiddies that attack someone just for revenge are called blue hats. They’re also not interesting in learning, and they plan the attack to cause damage to a specific person. Usually, they use DoS attacks.

Red hat hackers

This type is in some ways similar to white hats. Their purpose is the same as them: block black hat attacks. The difference is significant, though: while white hats try to stop the attack, red hats also try to totally annihilate the attacker by attacking in turn the criminal’s system, trying to destroy it.


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Marina Londei
Laureata in Ingegneria e Scienze Informatiche, unisco la passione per la scrittura al mio lavoro.