Protecting your critical digital assets from hackers starts with identifying the various types of hackers and how they operate. An understanding of hacker hat colors will help prevent hackers from compromising your IT infrastructure. Read on to learn more about them.
Brief Overview of Hacker Hat Colors
In the cybersecurity world, hackers are known by their hat colors, making it easier to different attacks or attempts thereof by their hacker hat colors. Understanding what each means is essential to creating a robust defense system against all kinds of attacks.
So, below, we’ll explore concepts like:
- The definition of a hacker hat
- The different types of hackers and hacker hats
- The importance of distinguishing between hacker hat colors
With the help of a managed detection and response (MDR) specialist, your organization will be equipped to handle different hacker hats and prevent these attacks from unfolding.
What is a Hacker Hat?
Hacker hat colors simply differentiate between the different types of hackers. Some hackers may be considered “good” (simulated attackers, or testers), whereas others might be described as “bad” (actual attackers). Interestingly, the concept of hacker hats was adapted from Westerns, where movie protagonists and antagonists wore different hat colors.
The Different Types of Hackers & Hacker Hats
When hacker hats were first developed, there were only two hat hacker colors—black and white. As hat hacker behavior has evolved, there are now more colors, pointing to the various types of hacker hat categories in cybersecurity today.
Let’s break these down:
White Hat Hackers
White hat hackers are considered “good” hackers because they are cybersecurity professionals that help organizations uncover security vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. Vulnerability assessment and security testing techniques like penetration testing leverage white hat hacking.
Upon discovering security vulnerabilities during a hacking attempt, these hackers disclose them to organizations at risk of threats or the vendors responsible for the compromised assets.
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Gray Hat Hackers
Gray hat hackers are a blend of white and black hat hackers. These hat hackers can be anything from former cybercriminals turned white hat hackers to hackers searching for vulnerabilities in an organization’s infrastructure, without malicious intent.
Black Hat Hackers
Unlike their white hat counterparts, black hat hackers are cybercriminals. They attempt to find vulnerabilities in their targets’ cybersecurity infrastructure. On identifying these vulnerabilities, the black hat hackers may exploit them for monetary gain or espionage purposes.
Green Hat Hackers
Green hat hackers are those interested in becoming seasoned hackers but don’t currently have the hacking knowledge or experience. In a sense, green hat hackers are “wannabe” hackers. When presented with the right opportunity, these hackers could threaten an organization’s cybersecurity, especially when security controls are weak.
Blue Hat Hackers
Somewhat similar to gray hat hackers, blue hat hackers are formally or informally employed by organizations as security consultants. By hiring or outsourcing blue hat hackers, organizations can leverage their hacking expertise to optimize their employers’ security controls.
Red Hat Hackers
Red hat hackers are most often categorized as those who hack systems running on Linux.
Interestingly, red hat hackers are also sometimes classified as “vigilantes” because they tend to aggressively pursue black hat hackers—inflicting damage on their computing resources.
The term “script kiddies” was coined to describe inexperienced hackers who are looking for easy targets or victims for their cybercrime attempts. These cybercriminals use existing hacking techniques to deploy their attacks. Script kiddies may also engage in cybercrime for reasons beyond monetary gain (e.g., for adventure, revenge, etc).
There is considerable crossover between this group and green hat hackers.
State or Nation Sponsored Hackers
As the name suggests, state- or nation-sponsored hackers are hired by states or nations to hack specific target systems. These hackers are typically highly trained and experienced cyber professionals, who hack high-value targets like government institutions. Motivations for these attacks may be monetary or espionage-related.
Why it’s Important to Know the Different Types of Hackers
Knowing the different hat hackers will help you stay ahead of threats to your organization.
For instance, black hat hackers can deploy zero-day attacks by exploiting a range of vulnerabilities. Understanding how these hackers operate will help mitigate these attacks from unfolding. And employing the services of white hat, blue hat, or other benevolent “hackers” can help you stay informed of the techniques black hats use (and how to mitigate their risks).
How to Protect Yourself From Hackers
Hackers can exploit any vulnerabilities present in your cybersecurity infrastructure. You can protect your organization from these hackers by implementing a security operations center (SOC). With the help of a SOC, you will be able to detect threats in real-time, comply with regulatory requirements, and optimize your cyber defenses. And, as you grow your threat intelligence tools, your organization will be more secure from hackers.
Even threats like social engineering are preventable when detected early in their lifecycle.
How RSI Can Help
As hackers become more proficient and deploy advanced attacks, it helps your organization to know the different types of hacker hats and how they work. With the help of an MDR partner like RSI Security, you will be prepared to identify potential hacker activity and prevent hackers from deploying threats. Contact RSI Security today to learn more!