Different Types of Hackers Explained by Hat Color


Did you know that hackers’ hat colors can be traced back to the good old days when Western movies were popular, the good men wore white-colored hats, and the bad guys wore black hats?

Today there are six famous hackers hat colors, and here is what each one denotes:

  1. Black Hat Hackers
  2. White Hat Hackers
  3. Grey Hat Hackers
  4. Red Hat Hackers (Hacktivists)
  5. Blue Hat Hackers (Penetration Testers)
  6. Green Hat Hackers (Noob Attackers)



Black Hat hackers break into networks with malicious intent to destroy valuable data, hold a company to ransom, or steal confidential personal information.

Many of them start their careers as novices who buy hacking tools to exploit network vulnerabilities. They then train themselves to become sophisticated criminals offering hacking services directly on the Dark web or through franchises and other business arrangements. A notorious black hat hacker was Michael Calce, also known as Mafia Boy, who launched Project Rivolta - a series of DDoS attacks that brought down major websites including Amazon, CNN, Yahoo, and FIFA. He was caught talking about it in a chat room. He eventually only landed eight months in jail as he was a high school kid at that time.


white_hat_hackerWhite hat hackers are also called ethical hackers as they use their hacking skills to check for vulnerabilities in networks, hardware, and software. Without malicious intentions, these hackers follow the law when hacking. Their research is often conducted on open-source software and authorized systems and programs.

They mainly participate in bug bounty programs earning money for detecting security flaws. Since they find flaws in security before the bad guys do, they help to correct defects assisting in overall security protection. One of the most famous of all white hat hackers is Kevin Mitnick. He was once on the FBI’s list of Most Wanted for hacking into over 40 major corporations. But after a stint in jail, Kevin left the dark side and is today a trusted consultant to several Fortune 500 companies and governments globally. He operates as CEO and chief “white hat” hacker of Mitnick Security Consulting, an advanced boutique security firm.


grey_hat_hackerGrey hat hackers are known for participating in black and white hacking activities. They often hunt for security issues and vulnerabilities in networks and software without the owners' permission. However, when they identify problems, they go the extra mile and fix issues for a fee. However, most enterprises are not fond of gray hat hackers as they see their encroachment as a violation and invasion into unauthorized secure areas.

A famous gray hat hacker is Khalil Shreateh, who hacked Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page. His motivation was to show Facebook a bug that allowed anyone to post on any user’s page without consent. Since Facebook did not acknowledge his finding, he showed that it could be done. Facebook had to face the vulnerability in its platform and eventually fixed it. The fix did Facebook’s users a world of good, but Khalil was not compensated for his bug finding as Facebook felt he violated their security policies.


red_hat_hackerRed hat hackers have the motives of white hat hackers but the skills of black hat hackers. Their goal is to identify the attackers, disarm and finally demolish them using different methods, including DDoS attacks. Masters of disguise, they move and hide, making it difficult for the law to find them.

Red hat hackers mainly belong to politically or socially motivated groups, and a famous example of one such group is Anonymous. This group has been at the forefront of any political upheaval by threatening, causing, or claiming to have caused damage to the side of the government it supports. For example, Operation Tunisia was against the government during the revolution. Recently, Anonymous threatened to claim secret papers of the Russian government during Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.  


blue_hat_hackerBlue hat hackers perform penetration testing and deploy various cyber-attacks without causing damage. These hackers have mastered the art of hacking, making them attractive to software companies that hire these hackers to test their software before launching them in the market.

Microsoft organizes periodic blue hat hacking conferences, providing hackers with a platform to identify software bugs and test its Windows programs.


green_hat_hackerGreen hat hackers are novices but keen learners. Desperate to climb the hacker's ladder, they determinedly launch attacks and learn from their mistakes. Unlike 'script kiddies' who buy attacks, green hats learn hacking skills and establish their attacks. They follow an educational path and earn certificates to develop their skills. Eager to learn, they launch attacks that can be dangerous, and this can be bad news for enterprises. An example of a green hat hacker could be David Dennis - a 13-year-old who learned about a new command that could be run on CERL’s PLATO terminals. Called "external" or "ext," the order could cause the terminal to lock up—requiring a shutdown and power-on to regain functionality. He tested his knowledge which forced several users to power off simultaneously. In the 45 years since its inception, this form of attack has become the most persistent and damaging of all cyber-attacks.


Hackers maximize network vulnerabilities to launch attacks in the specific context of DDoS DDoS attacks; hackers maximize network vulnerabilities to launch attacks. The networks are dynamic and keep changing, but mitigation solutions don’t reconfigure dynamically, leaving companies with a staggering 48% DDoS vulnerability level.

The best way to beat hackers is to ensure adequate DDoS security irrespective of their hats. With MazeBolt’s RADAR™, enterprises are assured of automated DDoS simulations on live environments with zero downtime, avoiding costly interruption to business continuity. 

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