- What Is an Ethical Hacker?
Ethical hackers are employed either through contracts or direct employment to test the security of an organization. They use the same skills and tactics as a hacker but with permission from the system owner to carry out their attack against the system. In addition, ethical hackers do not reveal the weaknesses of an evaluated system to anyone other than the system owner. Finally, ethical hackers work under contract for a company or client, and their contracts specify what is off-limits and what they are expected to do. Their role depends on the specific needs of a given organization. In fact, some organizations keep teams on staff specifically to engage in ethical hacking activities.
- Types of Hackers
The following are categories of hackers:
Script Kiddies These hackers have limited or no training and know how to use only basic techniques or tools. Even then they may not understand any or all of what they are doing.
White-Hat Hackers These hackers think like the attacking party but work for the good guys. They are typically characterized by having a code of ethics that says essentially they will cause no harm. This group is also known as ethical hackers or pentesters.
Gray-Hat Hackers These hackers straddle the line between good and bad and have decided to reform and become the good side. Once they are reformed, they still might not be fully trusted.
Black-Hat Hackers These hackers are the bad guys who operate on the opposite side of the law. They may or may not have an agenda. In most cases, black-hat hacking and outright criminal activity are not far removed from each other.
Suicide Hackers These hackers try to knock out a target to prove a point. They are not stealthy, because they are not worried about getting caught or doing prison time.