Such is the stereotypical view of a hacker. Yet, there’s so much more to this fine art than Hollywood or the media describes. Hackers are varied creatures and include these 7 types:
Script Kiddie – Script Kiddies normally don’t care about hacking (if they did, they’d be Green Hats. See below.). They copy code and use it for a virus or an SQLi or something else. Script Kiddies will never hack for themselves; they’ll just download overused software (LOIC or Metasploit, for example) and watch a YouTube video on how to use it. A common Script Kiddie attack is DoSing or DDoSing (Denial of Service and Distributed Denial of Service), in which they flood an IP with so much information it collapses under the strain. This attack is frequently used by the “hacker” group Anonymous, which doesn’t help anyone’s reputation.
White Hat – Also known as ethical hackers, White Hat hackers are the good guys of the hacker world. They’ll help you remove a virus or PenTest a company. Most White Hat hackers hold a college degree in IT security or computer science and must be certified to pursue a career in hacking. The most popular certification is the CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) from the EC-Council.
Black Hat – Also known as crackers, these are the men and women you hear about in the news. They find banks or other companies with weak security and steal money or credit card information. The surprising truth about their methods of attack is that they often use common hacking practices they learned early on.
Gray Hat – Nothing is ever just black or white; the same is true in the world of hacking. Gray Hat hackers don’t steal money or information (although, sometimes they deface a website or two), yet they don’t help people for good (but, they could if they wanted to). These hackers comprise most of the hacking world, even though Black Hat hackers garner most (if not all) of the media’s attention.
Green Hat – These are the hacker “n00bz,” but unlike Script Kiddies, they care about hacking and strive to become full-blown hackers. They’re often flamed by the hacker community for asking many basic questions. When their questions are answered, they’ll listen with the intent and curiosity of a child listening to family stories.
Red Hat – These are the vigilantes of the hacker world. They’re like White Hats in that they halt Black Hats, but these folks are downright SCARY to those who have ever tried so much as PenTest. Instead of reporting the malicious hacker, they shut him/her down by uploading viruses, DoSing and accessing his/her computer to destroy it from the inside out. They leverage multiple aggressive methods that might force a cracker to need a new computer.
Blue Hat – If a Script Kiddie took revenge, he/she might become a Blue Hat. Blue Hat hackers will seek vengeance on those who’ve them angry. Most Blue Hats are n00bz, but like the Script Kiddies, they have no desire to learn.