What is a Grey hat hacker?
In the computer world, there seems to be a group of skilled technicians who toe the line between good and bad: the grey hat hackers.
Although the word hacker is commonly thought to refer to a skilled computer genius who uses his or her talent to harm others with malicious or criminal activity, in reality, not all hackers are criminals.
These names, according to Norton, have their origins in spaghetti westerns, which often featured a “good guy” who wore white hats, and a “bad guy” who wore black hats.
When it comes to labeling a hacker by a metaphorical hat color, security experts often take into account whether they are breaking a law or have good, bad or questionable intentions with their actions.
This group of hackers doesn’t necessarily work to steal money from others or to hurt others, but in reality, they could easily be involved in what some would label as unethical activity.
In some instances, they might also be breaking a law.
For instance, a grey hat hacker may break into a computer network without authorization and later report to network owner how they broke in and how the vulnerability can be fixed.
In this case, the hacker broke the law by getting into the system without permission, but in the end, didn’t use his or her ability to steal anything.
They sometimes ask to be paid for what they have found and reported, and if they don’t receive a payment, grey hat hackers might consider blasting their discovery to the public.
In some instances, grey hat hackers might work for or sell their information to government agencies, such as a police department, intelligence agency, or a military.
When this happens, the government agencies may use the discovered vulnerabilities to spy on enemies or those suspected of crimes.