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

Generals run away in third to win 5-2 over Ft. Sask

Lacombe looking for the four-game sweep in Ft. Sask on Sunday

Community invited to check out local Toastmasters’ group

New members are sought for the Club to continue past March

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr talks tourism opportunities at Chamber lunch

Stakeholders must take advantage of the Lacombe region’s many selling points

Alberta judge cleared in case where sex assault victim was shackled, jailed

Judicial council: Judge Raymond Bodnarek acted on Crown’s advice, tried to minimize victim’s hardship

Breton/Thorsby RCMP investigate theft of boat

RCMP say stolen jet boat and trailer valued at approximately $80,000

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates one year out from 2019 Canada Games

Community gathers at Great Chief Park to commemorate Games milestone

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Most Read