How many types of hackers are there?


When you think of a hacker, what is the image that pops up in your head? Is it in image of a person hunched over their computer or laptop late at night, deciphering a password and getting hold of sensitive data or money directly. We can thank movies for this portrayal of hackers but, in reality it's very rare to find a hacker who will do all the above.

But are all hackers the same?

Not at all.  Hackers  have become so diverse that a small glossary has been put together describing the types of hackers and what exactly it is they do. The greyhat hackers or grey hat hackers are characterized as hackers that are running between the "good and evil" of the hacking world. The black hat hackers (blackhats), are hackers who look for security flaws and exploit them for their own benefit and the white hat hackers (whitehats or "good hackers"), are those who look for and investigate security holes and once located warn the company in question or broadcast it publicly to be resolved. They do not seek reward because their intention is altruistic, to improve security in general.

Grey hat hackers differ amongst one another. They do not seek to take advantage of a security hole directly, but if they discover it they will try to make a profit out of it by selling it to governments, the military or intelligence services. There is no altruism, but there is no intention to harm companies.

An example of a group of grey hat hackers are the Italian Hacking Team, who sell their espionage tools to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Saudi Arabia.

Types of hackers

Black Hat: criminals
White Hat : ethical hackers who work to protect systems and people.
Grey Hat: incursions between black hat and white hat.

Although the three main and best-known types are the black, grey and white hat hackers, there are many more. We go over them one by one:

Black Hat

The term "black hat" originated in Western movies, where bad guys wore black hats and good guys wore white hats. A black hat hacker is a person who tries to get  unauthorized entry into a system or network to exploit them for malicious reasons. The black hat or blackhat hacker has no permission or authority to carry out his objectives. It attempts to inflict damage by compromising security systems, altering the functions of websites and networks, or shutting down systems. They often do it to steal or gain access to passwords, financial information and other personal data.

White Hat 

The white hat is the perfect kind of hacker to break the stereotypical picture we painted above. The whitehat hackers are good people. They are also called ethical hackers because they test existing Internet infrastructures to investigate gaps in the system. They create algorithms and perform multiple methodologies to enter systems, just to strengthen them. If you imagine it as a lock, they open it, only to inform the owners of how to make their security work better. White Hats have historically been instrumental in ensuring that large corporations have maintained a solid network framework against all other computer intruders. From government employees to private consultants, white hackers help make the Internet a better, safer place.

 Grey Hat

The Grey Hat or greyhat hacker moves between the other two. While they may not be able to use their skills for personal gain, they may, however, have good and bad intentions. For example, a hacker who pirates an organization and finds a certain vulnerability may filter it over the Internet or report it to the organization. It all depends on the hacker. However, as soon as hackers use their hacking skills for personal gain, they become Black Hats. There is a thin line between the two Because a gray hat hacker does not use his skills for personal gain, he is not a black hat hacker but since the grey hat is not legally authorized to hack into the organization's cyber security, he cannot be considered a white hat either.

Red Hat

Another type of hacker that moves away from the stereotype is the red hat hacker, who acts ruthlessly towards black hat hackers. His sole aim is to destroy everything that the 'bad hackers' do and tear down their entire infrastructure. A red hat hacker would pay attention to the initiatives of a black hat, intercept it and pirate the intruder's system. This would not only stop the attack, but also drive the hacker in question out of business.

Blue Hat

The mission of blue hat hackers is to perfect unpublished software. These blue hat hackers are hired to test the software for bugs before it is released. The name is believed to come from the blue badges of Microsoft employees. These are usually novice hackers with no desire to learn and who can use simple cyber attacks such as flooding our IP with overloaded packets that will result in DoS attacks.

Green Hat

These hackers are the amateurs of the world of hacking but don't underestimate them, these novices have the desire to become quality hackers and are very curious to learn. It is common to find them absorbed in hacker communities bombarding their peers with questions.

Social Media Hacker

He's the social networking hacker. As the name implies, they focus on hacking social network accounts using various techniques. This type of hacker is similar to the black hat hacker for his criminal intentions. Some call them purple hat or yellow hat hackers, but this is the most used term in the world of hacking.

Suicide Hacker

This type of hacker gets its name from the notorious Suicide Bombers, people who cause a lot of damage before they commit suicide. Similarly, a suicidal hacker would know that his identity would be revealed, or that he would be caught at some point, but still proceeds to make a hacking attempt. It could be for money, or for fame, or even worse, like a suicide bomber.

Kiddie Script

This subcategory of hacker represents novice hackers who are not qualified. They rely on programs and files to hack and don't bother to learn how they work. They have little respect for skills and are not motivated to learn. Script Kiddies can be white hat, black hat or gray hat.


A malicious informant or whistleblower may be a resentful or committed employee or even hired by rivals to obtain trade secrets from their opponents. These hackers have the privilege of their easy access to information and their role within the company to hack into the system.

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