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The Three Hats Of Hackers Essay

1500 words - 6 pages

The definition of hacking has undergone some changes in the past few years. At first it identified people “who enjoys modifying and subverting system, whether technological bureaucratic or sociological.” (Lemos, 2002) In the last decade hacking has evolved to describe “those people with a hands-on interest in computer security and circumventing such security. (lemos 2002) As you explore deeper into the digital landscape it becomes clearer that these hackers are sub divided into three groups of intermingling individuals classified by a system of hats.
This hat system was coined by the L0pht (pronounced “the loft”) one of the most well know old-school hacking group on the internet. This hat system was implemented to give the middle ground hackers, like the members of L0pht, a category to call their own that kept them from being associated with the criminal hackers, also known as black hats, and the corporate hackers and network maintainers, known as white hats. (Lemos, 2002) Since black and white made up the extremes the middle group that consisted of both would be deemed Grey hats to signify their neutrality and diversity. Each of these hacking cultures has their own set of allegiances but, these allegiances do not always remain the same for all hackers across the hat class. One of the best examples of this shifting allegiance is the Black Hat hacker.

Black hats are known as the criminal masterminds but, not all black hats are the bad guys. Most black hat hackers are just board and look for challenging systems to break into to test their skill. This skills test results in major security breaches and ultimately black hats being labeling as a threat. Most of Their goals typically include hacking systems for personal or financial gain. (Lemos, 2002) Other Black Hat hackers usually keep their code for their own personal use, but have been known to trade codes with other Black Hat hacker to gain status or reputation amongst their peers. This trading of vital information has sparked a boom in the modern mobile security market and according to ABI Research its estimated that Mobile Security Services is likely to expand to $1.8 billion by the end of 2013. (Byod, 2013)

Black Hat hacks ideology centers around controlling systems and accessing protected information. This control and access of restricted data causes a conflict with the White Hat and Grey Hat groups because it negatively affects them both. Grey Hats and Black Hats are closely bound in the aspect that they both want to access secure information but differ because Grey Hats are known to report their breaches and report their doings to the network administrator or make it obvious to them that there has been a breach. This leads to problems because Black hat hackers will breach a system and cover their tracks in a system claiming to be Grey Hats if caught. This leads to the problem of “grey hats are now finding their once- acceptable acts such as informing the public of company...

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