A green hat hacker is a newbie in the hacking world. As such, green hat hackers may not be as familiar with all the security mechanisms companies or individuals may be using. Unlike the other hacker categories, they may not be as well-versed with the inner workings of the web.
What green hat hackers lack in experience, however, they make up for in eagerness to learn and determination to go up the ranks of the hacker community.
Green hat hackers are not necessarily threat actors. In fact, they may not intentionally want to cause harm to others but may do so while practicing their craft.
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Everyone has to start somewhere in any endeavor, and hacking is no different. In the world of hacking, that starting point is being a green hat hacker.
6 Hacker Types
There are six types of hackers based on the color of the hat they wear. Each kind of hacker is described in more detail below.
Green Hat Hacker
Green hat hackers are the newest kids on the block who are just starting to learn the craft. They don’t have a clear motivation at the stage they are in (i.e., they can either become a black or a white hat hacker). As has been said, they don’t intentionally want to cause harm but may do so. And since they don’t know that much yet about hacking, they may not be able to fix the damage they caused.
Blue Hat Hacker
Blue hat hackers are either in it because they want to exact revenge. But some are hackers for hire, although not exactly in the malicious sense. We’re talking about experienced hackers that big companies hire (i.e., not necessarily licensed penetration testers) to test the security of their products (i.e., software or hardware) before these go to market.
Red Hat Hacker
Red hat hackers are like the Robin Hoods of the hacking world. They may have noble intentions in that they only attack black hat hackers but don’t necessarily use ethical or legal means to do so.
Grey Hat Hacker
Grey hat hackers walk the thin line between being good (i.e., white hats) or bad (i.e., black hats). They usually break into systems without their owners’ permission but don’t cause harm. You can say they’re either in it for fame or fortune. They would point out vulnerabilities then charge the vulnerable solution or system’s owner a high fee to get the fix.
White Hat Hacker
White hat hackers are the good guys whose primary goal is to protect users and networks from black hat hackers. This category includes licensed penetration testers that companies hire to ensure the security of their networks and data.
Black Hat Hacker
Black hat hackers are the bad guys. They are either in it for profit or to attain another dark agenda (e.g., bring a country’s economy down, destroy an organization’s reputation, etc.). They use all means (e.g., malware infection, vulnerability exploitation, etc.) to infiltrate networks and systems.
As green hat hackers gain more experience and broaden their skills and know-how, they can become any of the other four types.
Green Hat Hackers versus Script Kiddies
While many often put green hat hackers and script kiddies in the same category, they differ from each other.
Both are amateurs in that they’re not as technologically knowledgeable as the other hacker types. But unlike green hat hackers who take time and exert effort to learn programming and coding, script kiddies always opt for the easy route—buy ready-made tools and scripts, including malware, unfortunately.
Unlike script kiddies, green hat hackers often go to school to obtain programming degrees, earn certificates, and take up skills development courses.
Like anyone or anything on the World Wide Web, not everything is black and white in the world of hacking. Even the types of hackers come in different colors, reflecting the choices that each one makes. If you’re a green hat hacker, which path (i.e., black or white) will you take?