White Hat Hacking: The White Hat or Ethical Hacking Explained

Some are saying that somewhere between black and white lies the ugly. Well, it is almost only hard to tell how true this statement could be, until you view things in the cybercrime perspective where hackers are categorised with codes. For example, black hat hackers (the bad), grey hat hackers (the ugly), and white hat hackers (the good).

Also while the world might only regard hackers as abusive criminals, this is certainly not always the case. Because some hackers are basically operating as law-abiding experts who are only using their expertise to help others and keep them safe, and free from toxic hackers.

Also, while black hat hackers are well known for malicious hacking, the white hats or ethical hackers only use their skills to identify, and mitigate malicious threats that are often caused by the black hats.

In case you are also wondering about grey hat hackers, these are the kind that would use their skills to hack into networks and cause chaos, only to prove a point that the web is certainly a bad place to conduct businesses. But more on this later. Today we’re going to take you through ethical or white hat hacking.

Who is a White Hat Hacker?

Think of these guys as hired guns. Hacker white hat is a highly skilled information technology nerd who puts his hacking skills to good use. Also, those who can afford them, know the rewards of having a white hat hacker as part of the network defence team.

What is Ethical Hacking?

White hat hacking definition in a nutshell. Ethical hacking or white hat hacking is like a mimic of malicious hacking (often conducted by cybercriminals to steal industry credentials and cause chaos). However, an ethical hacker follows the rules of hacking and only hacks into a system to identify, and fix the threats.

Here’s a more detailed version of white hat hacking definition.

Ethical hacking involves a certified white hat hacker who has demonstrated their knowledge of accessing system security networks to check for vulnerabilities of a targeted system. They achieve this by utilising the same knowledge and equipment or tools as a malicious hacker. They conduct the hacking in a more legit and lawful manner to access, and help mitigate security weaknesses of a targeted network.

Moreover, if you check the news today, you are likely to hear vast cybersecurity threats like credential theft, money theft, information leaks, digital attacks, and, say, cyber espionage. This is only possible because those who have malicious intent can now orchestrate such activities from the comfort of their homes, and from behind their computer desks.

Accordingly, with widespread access to the web across the globe, this convenience also comes with an exponentially higher number of hackers who are willing to attempt cyber crime. Essentially, this phenomenon leads to an increase in demand for white-hat hackers among other cybersecurity experts to help in countering cyber crime attempts and stop them from happening in the first place.

What Do White Hat Hackers Do?

In order to stop malicious hackers among other forms of cybercrimes, you need to get help from those who are familiar with their methods, techniques, personality, brains, etc. And there is certainly no one who is very much aware, or has more control over these things than the hackers themselves.

Further, the ethical hackers often utilise their skills and knowledge to rule, and deal with malicious hackers accordingly. And as a matter of fact, these experts are always actively looking to identify security exposures before anyone else does. This is so that they can notify the businesses about such security exposures that need to be fixed before the worst happens.

Moreover, ethical hackers attract high-paying jobs in large industries. And in return, these experts will guarantee to identify or locate bugs, and holes in the system defence much faster than any other hackers.

Likewise, some of the popular jobs for these cybersecurity experts may include IT security engineer, intrusion detection analyst, network security analyst, cybersecurity analyst, IT security manager. Some corporate entities may also give these people a responsibility for providing training to other employees to tighten site security.

Benefits of White Hat or Ethical Hacking

White hat hacking is deemed as the critical need of the hour. And the top reason—the amount of information or data that is generated today, and the security hazards that follow. Equally, the rise in demand for white hat hacking today is as a result of technological advancement that has also resulted or led to vast threats in the digital world.

Accordingly, as cyber terrorism continues to grow—and with more and more hackers getting involved in numerous malicious activities which are threatening the global online economy—ethical hackers are needed to help shape the cybersecurity sector and help mitigate, and or stop malicious hacking.

Here are some reasons why it is particularly beneficial to work with, or hire a white hat hacker’s services.

  • A white hat hacker can develop a computer system that doesn’t only prevent your systems from malicious threats or hackings, it also protects the systems at the same time.
  • An ethical hacker can establish and facilitate security awareness at all hierarchies in an enterprise.
  • They can also defend the consumer data and all info that are present in business exchanges.
  • And they know how to take precautionary measures so as to ward off possible safety breaches.

In addition, risk management professionals, and network defenders can easily acknowledge, and gauge a hacker’s mindset. This is particularly rewarding for determining, and examining any possible risks, or threats in a network system. Nonetheless, security testing protocols and processes can be enhanced with the help of penetration testing tools and practices to implement them.

The Limitations of White Hat Hacking

Ethical hacking has its limits. Well, at least for the white and red cap hackers. Because the black hats are often only those who just don’t like to play by the rules. But there are Limitations of Ethical Hacking which are structured and organised security assessments. Think of it as part of a penetration test.

Essentially, security audit is an important component of risk management, as well as information system security good-practices. Likewise, it is used for identifying risks and highlighting remedial actions, as well as reducing ICT or Information and Communication Technology costs by resolving such susceptibilities.

Also, white hat hackers must know the penalties of illegally hacking into a system. Unless an official document of acknowledgement, and permission has been granted from the target organisation, no ethical hacking that is relating to a security audit, or a network-penetration check should be conducted.

Furthermore, white-hat hackers need to be considered with their talents and understand the implications of abusing, or misusing such talents. Also, computer crimes are widely classified into 2 categories by security professionals.

Crimes which are facilitated with a computer, and

  • Crimes which are facilitated with a computer, and
  • Crimes in which a computer itself is the target.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are White Hat Hackers?

The term “hacker” is often commonly attached to cybercrime. Still, not all hackings are malicious or criminal as many would think. Essentially, when someone compromises your network without permission is when the hacking becomes a cybercrime.

However, white hat hackers themselves, only use their extraordinary techniques to help others. Some people are considering them like guns for hire. If, however, you were expecting to find the white hat hacking definition—these are certified system security professionals who compromise networks, and or computers with the aim of testing and accessing data security stability of such a network.

  1. Is White Hat Hacking Illegal?

Well, it depends. There are hacking rules and regulations that are to be strictly observed by all hackers. But being a hacker isn’t typically illegal by itself. Hacking into someone’s system without permission, however, is illegal, and therefore calls for great penalties or a jail term, or both.

  1. Is White Hat Hacking a Job?

White hacking is a job by itself. With the rise or increase in cybercrimes in the digital world, many organisations are creating white hat hacker jobs for the good guys in the cybersecurity space to step in with their knowledge to prevent the chaos.

Essentially, a white hat or an ethical hacker is often contracted to conduct an attack under explicit permissions, and clear-out boundaries. The aim of hacker white hat’s job is to study, locate and test exposures, exploits, viruses, or other malicious attempts in their defined targets.

  1. Do White Hat Hackers Get Paid?

Although the average payment may only be classified, or just haven’t been revealed yet, this info may only then be less useful. However, white hat hacker jobs attract tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars or pounds per year.

Also, the best ethical hackers are known to earn tens of thousands of dollars on a one night long hacking contract. But payment margins also vary with level of skills. For example, for someone who’s still learning, well, they don’t make as much money.

  1. What is Red Hat Hacker?

A red hat hacker is the good guy who operates in a similar fashion as the white hat guys—only they are in their own league. But both experts are still deemed as ethical and vigilante hackers. The only difference is that when it comes to countering the bad guys, say, the black hats, red hat hackers employ different techniques than the white hats. Let me explain.

Red hat hackers are often considered the smartest in the field of hacking—and there are only a few of them. These guys can be ruthless in their jobs. For instance, they can go the extra mile of launching a violent attack on criminals by uploading a virus to gain access, and wreck the criminal’s system.

Red hat hackers comprises these characters or features:

  • They are a perfect mix of nearly all hackers. Talk white hats, and the malicious hackers. This means that Red hats can use all the necessary means or tools for all the good reasons.
  • These are among the top most smartest in the hacking field, and there are only a few of them.
  • Instead of just reporting an attacker, they just shut them down by taking hostile actions.
  1. What are GREY Hat Hackers?

Some would primarily define these guys as the hackers in between the blacks and white hats. They are somewhat a blend of both the ethical and malicious hackers. Grey hat hackers often hack into systems without permission to check for vulnerabilities but not to steal from you.

Usually, their intentions are often, well, not very clear, but they certainly can’t be considered as the good guys either. Some call them, the ugly. Because the grey hat hackers seem to believe that the web is not such a safe place for businesses. And they can go to an extent of hacking and causing chaos to the system only to prove their point.


Generally, hackers are only ordinary human beings. What makes the difference, however, is the level of their computer intelligence. Essentially, choosing between utilising these skills on legal or illegal grounds depends bluntly upon the character, and or personality of a hacker.

Due to an alarming increase in cybercrimes—with some of these hackers taking the lead on destructing a system or application security, illegally breaching data security and causing chaos to vast businesses, threatening the community and the economy at large—the existence of the hacker white hat guys is essentially necessary.

Moreover, ethical hackers will often utilise their science and knowledge to stop malicious attacks or deal with other hackers accordingly. Also, hiring a white cap can be especially costly in a way, not every industry can afford to hire or maintain them.

For this reason, it is therefore only necessary to take serious preventative measures to enhance data security. And doing so is as easy as installing a tough anti-malware program, but even so, adding an extra layer of security to the browser also enhances data security, and keeps malicious attackers away.

Apr 22, 2020

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1 Reviews

Dale Forsayeth Selway

Apr 29, 2020

thanks for the pop up l didnt know that…

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1 Reviews

Lola Lion Cachet


it works- I used to have stuff happen about twice a year- uardio warns me any time something looks fishy


John Robert Fleming