What is Hacking? Who is Hacker? and Their Types!
In this complete article, we’ll discuss – What is Hacking? Who is Hacker? Types of Hacking and Types of Hackers. I have included some short and informative videos, images and slides to make a clear picture of each term in your mind. Enjoy and take you time!
Table of Contents [Quick Links]
What is HACKING?
Hacking is an ethical process of auditing security of a system. This system may be a computer, a web application, any software or hardware. The AIM of hacking is to harden security of a system by identifying and patching security flaws in it.
The ethical hacking process involves consent (i.e. written permission) from all involved parties. That means all parties, who owns the target system, who are responsible for maintaining and securing it, who are are involved in performing hacking are acknowledged prior to hacking attempt.
Who is a HACKER?
The person who performs hacking is called a Hacker. Usually, a person who uses his/her knowledge, tools and tricks to manipulate the way in which a system normally works so that he/she can fulfill their purpose. The purpose could be anything, few are as follows:
- Finding Security Flaws in a System that could be exploited.
- Tightening or hardening overall security of a System.
- To prove someone’s point; to test, to experiment! (might be illegal)
- Just for fun, thrill and curiosity! (considered illegal)
- To take control of network and network devices, including machines attached to it. (illegal)
- To seek revenge from enemy, to destroy their Goodwill. (unethical and illegal)
NOTE: All the above tasks are 100% illegal, if they are performed without consent of all involved parties (as mentioned earlier).
SO, HOW TO PERFORM HACKING? As already mentioned, hacking is illegal without permission from involved parties. So, this obvious question arises – how to hack? Whom to hack? ANSWER: Don’t Worry, in the next few tutorials- we’ll learn about setting up our our own devices, network and software, which we can hack 😉
Types of Hacking – Hacking Vs. Cracking
Hacking can be categorized as legal (ethical hacking) and illegal (cracking) depending on the AIM and behavior of hacking. Let’s define them:
- Hacking (Ethical & Legal)
- Cracking (Unethical & Illegal)
Hacking | Ethical Hacking
An Ethical Hacking process can be defined as involvement of following-
- Auditing security of a computer system or a computer network.
- Permission is taken – all involving parties are acknowledged
- Testing weaknesses, finding security loops and security tightening.
- White Hat Hackers are involved.
- No intention to harm anyone.
Cracking | Unethical & Illegal
An illegal Hacking process which can be defined as involvement of following-
- Auditing security of a computer system or a computer network without prior permission.
- Involving parties are NOT acknowledged – No written permission.
- NO security tightening and more security issues can creep.
- Black Hat Hackers and Crackers are involved.
- Malicious intentions and personal gain.
Types of Hackers
Hackers can be broadly classified into white hat, black hat and Grey hat hackers on the basis of their work ethics.
Moreover they can be classified as Script Kiddie or Elite on the basis of their knowledge and reputation.
White Hat Hackers
They are also known as Ethical Hackers, they break security of a system for non-malicious purpose (with prior permission). They locate security loopholes and vulnerabilities in a system so that they can be patched and overall security could be improved.
They generally test their own systems or work for some organization/security firms to their system.
Black Hat Hackers
They are also known as crackers. They break into secure systems for malicious purpose and personal gain.
Crackers keep the awareness of the vulnerabilities to them only (or a small group of crackers) and do not notify the general public or manufacturer for patches to be applied.
Their actions are considered as unethical and illegal. History says, most of them end up in jail.
Grey Hat Hackers
A Grey hat hacker is a combination of a black hat and a white hat hacker. A Grey hat hacker may surf the internet and hack into a computer system. They may then, notifying the administrator about their system’s security defect and may offer to correct the defect for a fee.
Further, on the basis of a Hacker’s reputation and skill we have,
Elite hacker: Hackers those have more skills and respect in hacking arena. Newly discovered exploits circulate among these hackers.
Script Kiddie: Also known as a skid or skiddie. A non-expert who breaks into any computer systems by using already available scripts and automated tools that written by elite hackers. They have little to NO knowledge of the underlying concepts.
Hackers are also further classified into Neophyte, blue hat, hacktivist etc.
HACKERS Vs. CRACKERS: Unfortunately, mass media is confused to distinguish a hacker from a cracker and thus hacking and cracking makes no difference to them. This is highly unfortunate and damages the reputation of all ethical hackers and security researchers.