Hackers, Who Are They? The Exciting Struggle Between Good And Evil.

Hackers, Who Are They? The Exciting Struggle Between Good And Evil.


4 min read

A brief description of what is a hacker and how they are classified in the cybersecurity world.

Hi, I’m StackZero, the author of the namesake blog stackzero.net, in this article I would like to clarify what is meant by “hacker”.

Hacker definition

Hacker is a term generally used to describe someone who is skilled in computer programming and has the ability to use technology to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems or networks.

The hackers may use their knowledge to gain unauthorized access to systems, steal data, or disrupt services.

The first time this term was used was in the 1960s in reference to computer engineers and programmers who tinkered and experimented with computers.

In the 1980s, the term was adopted by the press to refer to computer criminals. Many hackers have become famous, and among them, I would like to mention:

  • Kevin Mitnick is a famous hacker and is now a security expert consultant.

  • John Draper, who is also known as “Captain Crunch”, is a hacker who found a way to make free phone calls using a toy whistle.

Several films and TV series develop around the role of the hacker, among which we can mention the following:

  • Mr Robot, an American drama-thriller television series

  • Swordfish, a 2001 American crime thriller film

  • The Matrix, a 1999 science fiction action film

  • Hackers is a 1995 American crime film.

The Hacker Mentality

The hacker mentality involves a mindset of creative problem-solving and exploration of new technologies. Hackers have an innate curiosity and a desire to learn, explore and discover new things. They are driven by the challenge of finding new solutions to difficult problems. Hackers may not always follow the rules or accepted conventions, but they are usually highly intelligent and have a deep understanding of technology. This kind of mentality also involves a sense of responsibility and ethics, as hackers are often motivated by the desire to make the world a better place.

Types of Hackers

Hackers are mainly classified into three types depending on their ethics

1. White Hat Hackers
A white hat hacker is an ethical hacker or cyber security expert who specializes in penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

They utilize the same methods and techniques as malicious hackers, but with the intention of finding vulnerabilities and helping organizations secure their IT infrastructure.

The knowledge of various techniques to gain access to confidential information, such as conducting penetration tests, setting traps, running vulnerability scans, using social engineering techniques and deploying honeypots is strictly required in their work.

The final output of their work is a report of their findings to the organization, so they can take remedial action. White hat hackers also provide valuable advice to organizations on how they can stay secure and protected against malicious cyber threats. This can include assessing their existing security measures, developing best practice security policies, and providing guidance and training on how to use and maintain secure systems.

2. Grey Hat Hackers
A grey hat hacker is a computer hacker or security researcher who may sometimes violate laws or typical ethical standards but does not have the malicious intent typical of a black hat hacker.

Grey hat hackers may use methods that could be classified as hacking to find vulnerabilities in systems, which they may then reveal to the public or to the company that owns the system. This is done to pressure the company into patching the vulnerability. Grey hat hackers may also work with companies to identify and fix security issues. They typically operate in a legal grey area, meaning that their activities are not necessarily illegal, but may not be accepted as ethical by all. This name is given because they are often seen as a mixture of black hat and white hat hackers, and their activities usually fall somewhere in between. Generally, the security industry considers them as a positive force in the security industry, as their activities often help to identify and fix security issues. However, their activities may also be seen as a form of vigilantism and they may be accused of taking advantage of vulnerabilities without permission.

3. Black Hat Hackers
Black hat hackers are those that most closely reflect the collective imagination. In particular, a black hat hacker is an individual who attempts to gain unauthorized access to a computer or network with malicious intent.

This type of hacker is often referred to as a cracker or cyber-criminal. They use a variety of methods to gain access to computer systems, including exploiting software vulnerabilities, brute force attacks, and social engineering. They may also use malicious software, such as viruses, to damage or steal data. Black hat hackers often have criminal intentions, such as stealing data for financial gain or to blackmail victims. Obviously, they do have not a positive impact and are those against whom security experts fight.


In conclusion, hackers have a wide range of skills and motivations, they are not what we see in Hollywood movies.

Many of the techniques of black hat hackers involve social engineering, so Security awareness is essential in an increasingly connected world.

If you like my articles, follow me here and on my blog so you can stay up to date on cybersecurity!