So Just What Sort Of Hacker Are You?

If you believe everything you see or hear in the media (and you really shouldn’t you know) then you could be forgiven for thinking that all hackers are bad guys – they are not.

Its certainly true that many hackers do have evil intent, be it defacing websites, taking websites down or simply stealing money, but some do in fact have more noble purposes at heart, even if their methods could be deemed questionable.

Here is a quick recap on the various types of hacker –

White Hat / Ethical / Pen Tester

A white hat hacker is generally accepted to be one of the good guys, having the skills required to break into computer systems.

Such activity is usually initiated by organisations who wish to test their defences in order to discover application or network weaknesses before the black hats do.

Black Hat / Cracker

A black hat hacker, on the other hand, will have no ethics.

They will be breaking into networks in order to steal data such as usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and bank information.

Grey Hat

I guess you could say that a grey hat sits somewhere between a white hat hacker and a black hat hacker.

Generally, grey hats are good guys who sometimes act unethically, for example working as a security expert who protect company data by day but then steals it and sells it by night.

Script Kiddy

A Script Kiddy is a wannabe hacker who lacks the technical skills required.

Instead of performing the hacks themselves they instead use programs or scripts written by others in order to achieve their objectives.


A phreaker is someone who just hacks telecommunications.

They would do this, for instance, to gain free long distance calls for themselves.


If you have ever had your website defaced then chances are you have come across a hacktivist.

These guys have a political message to share and they like nowhere better than website homepages for showing that message to the world.

Computer Security Hacker

A computer security hacker is someone who is an expert in the fields of computer networking and security.

This type of hacker is likely to be found attacking networks that are protected by firewalls or other intrusion protection systems.

Hobby Hacker

The hobby hacker truly is an amateur, sitting in his bedroom modifying rather than breaking existing software or hardware.

Question –

So, considering how many hackers read this blog (you know who you are) I was wondering how you would define yourselves?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. I know a BH that would take offense at being put in the same category with a Cracker, he dislikes them a lot.


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