What are hackers, really?

 

Think of the word hacker and you conjure up images of introverts hunched over  a computer screen in a dark surroundings.

Generally, the word ‘hacker’ is thought to give out a negative vibe, but in reality, for the most part, it is not so.

Hackers are grouped into white hats and black hats, and you guess it right, the white hats are the good ones.

In this article, we summarise up and reveal to you the true essence of an hacker, unravelling the mysteries closed up in this mysterious person.

What is hacking?

To know about an hacker, first you must know information about the art of hacking itself.

Most people think of hacking as just running a program which will do all the grunt work  for you. But in reality, it is not so. In reality it is  much MUCH  more complicated. While programs exist for hacking stuff, those really do not represent what hacking is.

Hacking, at it’s very core, is just scanning through source code and exploit vulnerabilities in that code to do whatever they want like stealing data and more.

Yes, it is just a matter of reading source code, plain and simple. However, hacking has been made difficult with companies patching up vulnerabilities day by day.

White Hats

While hackers are perceived as negative, most of them are in real life, they are the ones who keep companies products secure.

White Hats are the ones who comprise most of the world of hackers. They provide information about vulnerabilities in their software in exchange for money.

Even big companies (Especially them) such as Facebook and Google provide huge bounties for hackers reporting vulnerabilities in their software.

The bounty depends on how big the vulnerability is and quite often the bounty is set really high.

Ethical_Hacking

 

The form of hacking that White Hats practice is known as “Ethical Hacking” and it isn’t really to harm others.

The Apple A6 processor and from there on iOS 6 proved to be extremely difficult to jailbreak. Why was this so?

This was because Apple had hired iOS hacker Nicholas Allegra (Commonly known in the community as Comex) as an intern. Comex had proved to be extremely helpful and valuable in jailbreaking previous versions of iOS.

So he was well versed with the inner gears of iOS and had a trained eye for catching vulnerabilities in the code. Apple hired him to spot and report those vulnerabilities thus making life more harder for the jailbreaking community.

Comex is an example of a White hat. Due to him, Apple has toughened up it’s defenses.

Being a White Hat means doing hacking for good. Putting your skills to good use. For example: You may know how to pick a lock, but it is your choice whether to use it for dark purposes.

Knowing hacking is not necessarily being evil. Hacking is a skill, one that can prove to be helpful in certain situations.

Going by the lock metaphor, your skills of picking a lock may prove to be helpful when you are locked out of your own house.

Black Hats

The ‘Dark Side’ of the hacking world is known as the realm of the ‘Black Hats’.

Black Hats, while being smaller in number, have really tainted the essence and core of the art of hacking.

Black Hats, instead of reporting vulnerabilites they find to companies, either sell them to competitors, mafia, etc or steal the data themselves for their own use.

Anonymous: A famous Black Hat group which uses hacking as a form of protesting

Black Hats use the art of hacking for their own good, unlike White Hats who practice the art for the greater good.

Black Hats are the sore underbelly of the world of hacking and really aren’t the complete reporesentation of what hacking is.

Conclusion

Hacking is an art, an art which can be used for both noble and dark purposes. It depends on the choice of the wielder.

WIthout Hackers, or to be more specific, White Hats, most programs will have glaring vulnerabilities which may be exploited by many to steal your data or infect your devices.

Do we really want that? We don’t. Slowly, but surely, the public’s views on hackers is improving, with hacking no longer being considered an evil art.

Today, Hacking is more of a choice, a choice in which you have to choose between helping yourselves and helping the world. A choice which has the power to throw you into either the Dark or the noble side.

Like standing on a wall, your choice makes you either a White Hat or a Black Hat.

Knowing the Dark Arts isn’t in anyway wrong. It just depends on your choice to whether use the dark arts for shady purposes or actually contributing and helping the world with them

 

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