Ethical Hacking & Penetration Testing Guide | eBook

Introduction to Hacking

There are many definitions for “hacker.” Ask this question from a phalanx and you’ll get a new
answer every time because “more mouths will have more talks” and this is the reason behind
the different definitions of hackers which in my opinion is quite justified for everyone has a
right to think differently.

In the early 1990s, the word “hacker” was used to describe a great programmer, someone who
was able to build complex logics. Unfortunately, over time the word gained negative hype, and the
media started referring to a hacker as someone who discovers new ways of hacking into a system,
be it a computer system or a programmable logic controller, someone who is capable of hacking
into banks, stealing credit card information, etc. This is the picture that is created by the media
and this is untrue because everything has a positive and a negative aspect to it. What the media has
been highlighting is only the negative aspect; the people that have been protecting organizations
by responsibly disclosing vulnerabilities are not highlighted.

However, if you look at the media’s definition of a hacker in the 1990s, you would find a few
common characteristics, such as creativity, the ability to solve complex problems, and new ways of
compromising targets. Therefore, the term has been broken down into three types:

  1. White hat hacker—This kind of hacker is often referred to as a security professional or security researcher. Such hackers are employed by an organization and are permitted to attack
    an organization to find vulnerabilities that an attacker might be able to exploit.

  2. Black hat hacker—Also known as a cracker, this kind of hacker is referred to as a bad guy,
    who uses his or her knowledge for negative purposes. They are often referred to by the media
    as hackers.

  3. Gray hat hacker—This kind of hacker is an intermediate between a white hat and a black
    hat hacker. For instance, a gray hat hacker would work as a security professional for an
    organization and responsibly disclose everything to them; however, he or she might leave a
    backdoor to access it later and might also sell the confidential information, obtained after
    the compromise of a company’s target server, to competitors.

Total Pages: 491

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