The hats of hackers

In today’s ever-changing, ever-growing world of technology, it seems every day we are hearing of a new program, a new app or a new device.

In today’s ever-changing, ever-growing world of technology, it seems every day we are hearing of a new program, a new app or a new device.

Of course, as with everything, there are also those who wish to use that new technology for malicious purposes and neither can we turn our heads without hearing about a new computer scam, a new attempt at identify theft or a new hacking tool.

We hear about ‘hackers’ and ‘hacking’ a lot in the news and usually it’s in a negative context. However, there is more to hacking than just breaking into devices with harmful intentions.

Hacking is something that people who design software, apps and electronic devices need to think about, so they also design security systems within those things to protect users from hackers.

Who do they get to test these systems? Why it’s hackers of course.

What better way to test security than to pay a professional to try and break into it? That way, developers are able to learn how their defenses perform in a real-world situation and hackers can identify weak points in the security system and how to correct them.

These hackers are referred to as ethical or ‘white hat’ hackers to use a western analogy. They are often employed by companies as ‘penetration testers’ to test security systems in this way.

There are ‘black hat’ hackers as well.

Black hat hackers are the ones we hear about on the news all the time. They are the ones who install key-logger software, create Trojans and use other devious tools to break into systems to steal personal information and money.

There is also a third group of hackers. These are ‘grey hat’ hackers. As the name suggests, grey hat hackers fall into a grey area when it comes to hacking. They may have white hat methods but black hat tendencies or vice versa.

Some grey hat hackers could perhaps be described as “freelance penetration testers.”

They might hack into a web site, software program, or app in order to test for weak-points like a white hat hacker would, but then instead of pointing the weak points and how to fi x out them to the designer, they offer to sell them to them. If the designer decides not to pay, such hackers might even offer to sell the information to the highest bidder, perhaps even black hat hackers who could use them for malignant means.

Grey hat hackers also include ‘hacktivists’, hackers who use hacking as a means to demonstrate protest.

They hack into the web site of organizations they protest against and post messages and sometimes make demands of the organization.

If those demands aren’t met, they may even threaten to do something more vicious, such as steal and leak personal information about their target online.

They are considered grey hat hackers because their methods are illegal, but they are using them for a good reason, at least in their minds.

 

Just Posted

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Rotary Club of Lacombe Daybreak donates funds to FCSS for lifeline units

14 residents to receive potential lifesaving devices

Blackfalds Set to host annual Winterfest on Family Day

Winterfest 2019 will take place regardless of weather

WATCH: Canada Games Torch Relay lights spark in Lacombe

100s brave blistering cold to support local torchbearers

Innisfail RCMP looking for missing woman

Amanda Kucher was last seen at the Innisfail 7-Eleven on Feb. 15

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vehicle theft from dealership

Police were able to disable the SUV with assistance from the built-in vehicle assistance system

Red Deer College transforms into Athletes’ Village

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alberta minor hockey team, slammed for Indigenous dance video, forfeits season

Parents say season was too dangerous to finish because the team has been threatened

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

January home sales were weakest since 2015, average national price falls: CREA

CREA says the national average price for all types of residential properties sold in January was $455,000

Most Read