You might have heard the terms white hat hacker, black hat hacker, and grey hat hacker. Why are all these hackers wearing hats? We’re here to answer these important questions and understand some key terms in the world of hacking.

Black hat hacker

This is what most of us think of when we hear the term hacking. Popularized by movies and pop culture, this is your typical, dark, mysterious and malicious hacker. Black hats hack for personal gain, political agendas, and solely “evil” motivations.

White hat hacker

White is a pure color. Think of white hat hackers as computer angels with good intentions. White hat hackers are ethical and hack with the intention to fix and protect systems.

Grey hat hacker

This is a grey area. Sometimes grey hat hackers violate laws or “normal” ethical standards, but they lack malicious intent. For example, grey hats may exploit security weaknesses (though sometimes without permission) in order to bring them to the attention of the owners. The main motivation for grey hats is to improve the system.

Brute-force Attack

Why do most websites ask for a strong password that contains numbers, digits, and both upper and lowercase characters? Well, so it’s harder to guess. Brute-force attacks try all possible combinations of passwords, usually starting with common passwords like “123456″, “pass”, etc.

Social Engineering

Social engineering involves tricking users into revealing their private data, like birthdays, addresses, credit card numbers, etc. This might involve psychological manipulation of many types, including impersonating a trusted organization or sending a phishing e-mail to obtain private information.

Trojan Horse

If you’ve seen Troy (Brad Pit is spectacular- a must watch for sure), or know of the infamous Trojan Horse story, then you already have a good idea of how this type of malware works. During the Trojan war, the Greeks used a Trojan Horse- a huge wooden horse offered as a peace offering, but that had an army of men hidden insider- to enter the independent city of Troy and win the war.

By the same idea, a Trojan horse program pretends to be useful, but in fact runs malicious code in the background.


A rootkit is used to gain continued administrator (root) access and hide its presence (typically by disguising itself as necessary files) so that anti-virus software can’t detect it.

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