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Different Types of Hackers and the Threat To Your Business

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June 23, 2023

If you’re running a business with a digital presence, you’ll know all about the threat that hackers can pose. However, a lot of business owners don’t know that there are lots of different types of hackers, and they are all unique prospects for companies to approach.

Learning all about them means that your organisation can be ready for whatever happens. In this article, you can find out what the different types of hackers are and what motivates them, learn which hackers are the biggest threats to a business and find out the importance of protecting a company online.


What are the Different Types of Hackers?


There are plenty of different types of hackers, each using different approaches and being motivated by unique factors. Some of the main types of hackers companies are likely to have issues with include:


Black Hat Hackers

Black hat hackers are cybercriminals that break into systems with the goal of doing harm to their targets. This involves breaching systems through phishing methods and human interaction, in addition to the more traditional use of malware and ransomware attacks.

Motivations behind black hat hackers are primarily financial, with these cyber criminals holding a company’s digital infrastructure and data for ransom. However, some commit these crimes for their own entertainment, committing acts such as leaking personal and private information for fun or testing their own skills.


White Hat Hackers

White hat hackers are known as “ethical hackers” by some, with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities in a system and fixing them or informing the company’s management about these issues. These hackers get permission from the companies that they hack before they start breaching their systems, so system administrators know that they are not legitimately under attack from an aggressive third party. Some companies use white hat hackers in “wargaming” scenarios.

The motivations behind white hat hacking somewhat vary depending on who is completing the hacking. Primarily people are focused on supporting companies in protecting themselves, with some working with charities and other positive organisations for free. Others are motivated by finance and specifically hired to hack a company.


Grey Hat Hackers

Grey hat hackers fall into an odd space between black hat and white hat hackers. They don’t get permission from a company before they start hacking their systems, which can cause a lot of panic and distress within the companies themselves. These hackers use a variety of methods to penetrate systems, but will rarely use tools such as ransomware on a company to lock their information away.

In the majority of cases, grey hat hackers are motivated by simple curiosity and an interest in how security systems work. These people see hacking as something of a hobby rather than an opportunity to earn money. Whilst damage isn’t the goal of a grey hat hacker, clumsy grey hat hacking can lead to long-term impacts on a company’s systems.


Red Hat Hackers

Red hat hackers are also known as “vigilante hackers” and use all forms of hacking to attempt to breach the security of their target. They do so without informing their targets, who consist of organisations that they deem to have acted unethically, black hat hackers themselves and sometimes nations that complete illegal actions.

The motivation behind these hackers is simply justice. If they deem someone to have done something unjust, they will actively take steps to attempt to prevent them from doing so again in the future, such as destroying their computer infrastructure.

One of the most prevalent examples of red hat hackers is the group Anonymous, which takes on causes such as attacking Russian systems following the invasion of Ukraine and attacking the Minnesota Police Department following the death of George Floyd.


Blue Hat Hackers

Blue hat hackers are also known as “penetration testers” and are white hat hackers that are hired by companies to improve the security systems that a company has. These professionals are also known as “penetration testers”, and use as wide a variety of hacking techniques as possible to breach a business’ digital infrastructure in order to fully understand where any weaknesses lie.

The primary motivation behind blue hat hackers is financial, with people doing “pen testing” as a full-time career. However, these motivations are completely legitimate, as opposed to the financial motivation behind black-hat hackers who do so illegally.


Which Hackers are the Biggest Threats to your Business?


There are only two forms of hackers that provide a significant threat to a legitimate business since blue, red and white hat hackers only tend to target organisations if requested, paid or the company commits a highly unethical act. The first threat is through black hat hackers, who target company data and either force businesses to pay for their information back or transfer their money through hacked accounts.

Grey hat hackers are the other threat. Whilst there isn’t any malice in the way a grey hat hacker approaches your systems if they are clumsy or use the wrong methods, they can leave your organisation exposed to black hat hackers going forwards. They don’t do any damage deliberately, but the knock-on effects can be profound.


The Importance of Protecting Your Business


Properly protecting your business should be one of the main priorities for a company when it comes to the digital domain. By putting up layers of protection such as firewalls and encrypting passwords, you severely limit the risk of someone penetrating your company and causing financial harm.

The same applies when giving staff members thorough training in IT security, with principles such as never writing down your password, not opening email attachments and changing passwords regularly being essential.

Not only is your company protected from financial harm when you defend against cyberattacks, but you look after your reputation properly. If a customer is aware that their data is at risk, they might stop using the business and will spread the idea that the company’s reputation is poor for a good reason. Every single facet of your company is at risk when a cyberattack occurs, so make sure that you are ready.


Why Choose Eventura for a your Cybersecurity?


With over 20 years experience in cybersecurity, we know our stuff. Our team of cybersecurity experts and complete a full audit of your business and identify any areas of weakness, which could leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks.

We were even mentioned in the Governments National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Annual Review 2020 when we were chosen to test their “Exercise in a Box” designed to help small businesses prepare and respond to cyberthreats. You can read the article here.

There is a common misconception that cyberattacks don’t happen to SMEs but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With our expert knowledge, we can help you protect your business’s future from the ever increasing threat of cybercriminals.

If you would like to speak to one of our cybersecurity experts or request a cybersecurity audit or pen testing for your organisation, you can request a free call back here.

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