In today’s technologically developed world we are constantly connected to devices like mobile phones with super cool processors, smart laptops with fingerprint sensors, desktops with more than 32 gigs of RAM support, voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, OK Google, smart lights, and more! Within all this excitement, we are forgetting one crucial thing: all of these devices are hackable. Hacks can come from groups of or individual malicious and intelligent hackers who can gain access to a device halfway around the world!
Who is a Hacker?
A hacker is a skilled computer expert who uses their knowledge to overcome any kind of technical problem. The term ‘hacker’ is normally used to indicate criminals looking to gain unauthorized access to a network or system to commit a crime. For example, hackers tend to steal vital or sensitive information, damage or bring down websites or systems, and sometimes hold the system hostage to collect a ransom fee.
There are three basic, distinct types of hackers:
Black Hat Hacker
These hackers have extensive knowledge about computer systems and other devices connected to the internet. Black-hat hackers’ primary motivation is to get information for financial or personal gain. Black hats often inflict damage on both large organizations and individual computer users by breaking into the network and computer systems with malicious intentions. They often release malware or Trojans that steal credit card numbers or other personal information or hold computer systems hostage or destroy documents and files for their personal or financial gain.
The best recent example of an attack by a black-hat hacker would be the WannaCry ransomware attack which was released in May 2017 infecting more than 400,000 computer systems in 150+ countries within two weeks of its release. Luckily, expert security professionals developed decryption tools to stop the ransomware’s spread.
White Hat Hacker
White-hat hackers are skilled computer experts. These hackers have the same extensive knowledge as black hats, but they break into secured computer and networking systems with full authorization to improve security by exposing potential loopholes to prevent black hat hackers from exploiting such loopholes for their financial or personal gain.
Most often white hat hackers are referred to as “Ethical Hackers” as they use their skills to benefit society. Both small and big firms hire ethical hackers to perform tests and secure the organization’s network and computing devices.
On 19th July 2017, a black hat hacker managed to get his hands on three Ethereum Wallets and steal 153,000 ETH, which was approximately $32 million, at that time. The hacker was able to do so by exploiting a loophole within the wallet’s multi-signature verification. The hack was executed through the use of Parity client version 1.5+. However, a Swarm City blog post revealed that a group of White Hat hackers or ‘Ethical Hacker’ came to the rescue and , who managed to secure over 377,000 ETH of the remaining funds in the Ethereum Wallets using the same pattern the black hat followed. 
Grey Hat Hacker
Grey hats are a blended version of black hats and white hats. They do not hack networks, accounts, or computer systems for personal gain. Often they penetrate secured systems and networks to look for weak spots or loopholes without the administrator’s knowledge. As soon as they find weak spots in the system, they disclose the information to the admin or the owner of the data. However, this kind of unauthorized hack is still illegal because the hacker did not receive any kind of permission from the owner to performs such a test on their system.
What is Ethical Hacking?
Ethical hacking is the act of breaking into networks and systems to identify potential threats, loopholes, or vulnerabilities. The sole motive of ethical hacking is to enhance the security performance of the systems or network by reporting or fixing the vulnerabilities they find.
How Do You Become an Ethical Hacker?
First of all, to become an ethical hacker you need to have a strong foundation in at least one scripting or coding language as well as a good understanding of network security. Try starting with the basics by applying for a degree in cybersecurity that covers technical aspects as well as managerial and leadership skills.
EC-Council University’s Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security (BSCS) degree helps their students prepare for their career in cybersecurity. The BSCS degree deals with topical areas such as incident response, security threat assessment, and computer security management. Additionally, students will receive further instruction in management and leadership to become good leaders and managers as they mature in their careers.
ECCU’s BSCS degree also has a unique ability that allows students to walk away with a Bachelor’s degree and get three distinct EC-Council industry-level credentials: Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH), Certified Network Defender (C|ND) and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (C|HFI), along with many other benefits.