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Hacking is a broad term for a range of activities that aim to compromise computers and networks, by identifying and exploiting security weaknesses. It can be a criminal activity, but it can also be performed with the best intentions.

Black Hats

The “bad guys” of the hacking scene are called “black hat hackers.” They exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems and software to gain financial or other malicious goals, such as to extort money from companies or carry out corporate espionage. They are also involved in nation-state hacking campaigns and often use their skills for political reasons, including stealing classified information, interfering with elections, or accessing government or military documents.

White Hats

Hackers who work for cybersecurity firms or in-house teams at a company are considered white hats. They focus on ethical hacking, a form of cybersecurity that exposes security flaws before apps, websites, and connected products go to market. These hacking competitions can save a brand’s reputation and bottom line.

Blue Hats

Cybersecurity enthusiasts who use their skills for social or personal gain are sometimes referred to as blue hat hackers. These hackers often post or disclose private information online for social or political reasons, such as to ruin a reputation, gain unauthorized access to an email or social media account, or to post negative comments about a company or person.

Script Kiddies

The youngest of all hackers are known as “script kiddies.” These people are inexperienced and often cause minimal damage. They often use pre-written scripts to break into other people’s computers or networks.