Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Way You Wear Your Hat

Generally, hackers may wear two shades: White and Black (or Gray).

AudreyA white hat is a hacker opposed to the abuse of computer systems. In general, they adhere to the Hacker's Ethic. IT companies employ many white hats to test security systems because of their extensive knowledge of code. On a few occasions, they have also been known to work with law enforcement to track down rogue hackers. Tsutomu Shimomura is well known for assisting the FBI track down and arrest Kevin Mitnick, "America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw".

Rat PackA black hat exploits a computer's security system for private or financial gain. This type of hacker is known to create viruses, worms, zombies, spam, etc. The Cult of the Dead Cow is group of hackers that designed an ingenious program called Back Orifice. This program allowed a hacker to slip in through a back door take control of a remote computer. Black hats may also create Denial-of-Service programs which can flood a server with so much incoming data that the targeted site grinds to a halt.