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Crackers, Hackers And Now All These Silly Hats, Who Is Who?


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Hacker/Cracker is an old rant of mine. Basically, the Press goofed it up. They confused Hackers with Crackers and ruined the reputation of Hackers for all time.

  • Hacker: Hackers have been around since the beginning of computers in theory, but really since the beginning of time, Life Hacks is a new term put the practice is likely much older. Hackers were people with an in-depth knowledge of computers, servers and systems. They used this knowledge just like Life Hacks to help people, help companies find and fight issues.
  • Cracker: These are the folks that have the same knowledge and used it maliciously to do damage to systems and data or to steal such data. Crackers and Hackers fought one another. But Crackers were identified time and again as Hackers and now Hackers are considered bad guys.

So, that brings us up to today’s terminology and the hats. But first let me add a new term into the mix, “Ethical Hacker”, this merely states that we are Hackers with an Ethical belief in doing no harm. When you get certified as an Ethical Hacker is includes an oath to only attack those systems that you don’t own only with permission of the owner at the owner’s request. Ethical Hacker is an actual Certified title that you must be tested in order to obtain.

Now to the hats, simple, just think about Spaghetti Western movies or Hollywood. Cowboys with Black hats were bad guys:

  • Blackhat Hacker: As with the movies, the Blackhat is the bad guy, the Cracker, the one who wishes to do harm, steal/sell data, steal info, crash systems. It includes, Cybercriminals and can include Hacktivists (Activists that are Hackers as well) depending on your point of view of their cause.
  • Whitehat Hacker: These are the equivalent to the Ethical Hacker and often are certified Ethical Hackers. They are hired to find vulnerabilities, penetration testing, things of that nature.
  • Greyhat Hacker: These are technically whitehat hackers with lose morals. They may be good one day but hack without permission the next. They may test your system as you ask like other whitehats… then sell your data to the highest bidder. If I were to hack a facebook account because someone posted pictures of someone I know who wants them gone… I am helping a friend, but I am betraying the morals of the Whitehat as the facebook profile owner did not give me permission, even if it was a child of mine, that makes me a greyhat then.


I do intend to become a certified Ethical Hacker, but it isn’t cheap and we do not have a testing place here in my town. One day soon though and I do believe in the principals.

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