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SEGMENTECH is a Cyber-Security boutique professional services firm specializing in Identity Access Management (IAM) and Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions implementation, operations, and integration. SEGMENTECH operates in North America, with an HQ in Canada, an office in Jersey City, NJ, USA, and a LATAM extension.

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The Difference Between White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat

Home / news  / The Difference Between White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat

When you think of the term “hacker”, you may conjure up the stereotypical image of a hooded, faceless figure in a room full of computer screens, using the keyboard as a weapon of evil doing. Since it’s very rare to see a hacker in person in the age of the internet, this image is very easy to buy into. After all, cyber security is the aim of all businesses to protect their most valuable assets. What many people don’t realize is that hackers can be equally as important as they are detrimental to keeping sensitive material secure. There are three well-known types of hackers: Black Hat Hackers, White Hat Hackers, and Grey Hat Hackers. These terms are how hackers identify themselves and refer back to Western Cinema, where the protagonists wore white hats, and the villains or antagonists wore black hats. Understanding the difference between the three will not only help your business protect its assets, but learn how to leverage hacking techniques to maintain the highest security.

1. Black Hat Hackers

Black Hat Hackers resemble the image that we spoke about earlier, but more so in their intention than their appearance. They are the ones with more sinister intentions, such as stealing credentials, exploiting vulnerable networks, and spreading malware. They operate illegally and without the permission of their particular target. This is typically done within the pursuit of financial gain or even just for the thrill and adrenaline of wreaking havoc in someone’s system. Pretty villainous behaviour indeed. 

2. White Hat Hackers

Not all hackers wear black hat. White hat hackers are in fact, hired ethically through companies to detect weaknesses in their networks and software, enabling them to ramp up their own security measures. White hat hackers have the ability and technical skills to get inside the minds of those black hat hackers to put an end to their sinister plans. They can pinpoint areas of weakness and relay that information to the target, and they can even help fix or solve the issues. The result is a stronger and more secure system overall for businesses to keep their valuable information secure. 

3. Grey Hat Hackers

Unlike the movies, we all know that there are many different shades beyond black and white in the real world. This applies to hackers as well. Grey Hat Hackers fall into this category—neither completely ethical nor sinister, but somewhere in between. They may not have the malicious intentions of the black hat hackers, but they may still use illegal methods and operate without permission from the business or corporation that they’re hacking into. They may be kind and offer the information they’ve gathered to the company, or they can turn around and expose it to the public or other black hat hackers for a profit.

At the end of the day, hackers do play a vital role in cyber security. Not only do they pose challenges, but they can also strengthen the digital landscape of security and help us make more advancements in the digital world. SEGMENTECH is an advanced cyber security workshop specializing in Privileged Access Management (PAM) and EndPoint protection. We can assist you with guiding your teams in developing code with a least-privileged approach. Contact us today if you would to discuss why Privileged Access Management is a must-have on every self-developed application.