Information is power, and this is what makes hacking be very valuable in most instances if not all of them. People hack for different reasons; for fun because one can do it or the intention of using the information to achieve a goal, good or bad. In light of this, there are three kinds of hackers, white hat, black hat and the gray hat hackers. A white hat hacker is one who has fun working with computers can infiltrate systems without any malicious intention (Kirwan & Power, 2013). A black hacker is one with specific intention of carrying out some damaging action or gaining unauthorized access to information or software without helping an organization to improve its security (Kirwan & Power, 2013). Gray hat hackers are those whose actions fall somewhere between the black and white hat hackers (Kirwan & Power, 2013). They are hackers who search for loopholes, and they can release these exploits to the system administrators only in certain circumstances, often with the intention of being rewarded monetarily.
Ethical hackers study the methods of the black hackers so that they can find the exploits in a system so as to make it more secure. It is because to understand the criminal, one needs to reason and experience from the criminal’s perspectives and opportunities. It is important to study the mechanisms used by the black hackers so that they can benefit those they need to protect. They do this through the technique of penetration testing. For instance, a white hacker in the Chinese government may want to protect its government by hacking into the US systems to get information about the US government. In such a case, he is doing it with the intention of helping his country that the Chinese would approve of. White and black hacking is a matter of perspective.
Kirwan, G., & Power, A. (2013). Cybercrime: The psychology of online offenders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.