What are white hat hackers?

A white hat hacker also known as ethical hacker is a computer security specialist who breaks into protected systems and networks to test and asses their security.

White hat hackers use their skills to improve security by exposing vulnerabilities system’s owners to fix the loophole before it can be taken advantage by others such as black hat hackers.

White hat hackers employ the same methods of hacking as black hats, with one exception- they do it with permission from the owner of the system first, which makes the process completely legal. White hat hackers perform penetration testing, test in-place security systems and perform vulnerability assessments for companies. There are even courses, training, conferences and certifications for ethical hacking.

For reporting a vulnerability white hat hackers were rewarded with just an acknowledgement in the patch release or a T-shirt and other swag from the company they helped.

But these days white hats can earn good money—anywhere from $500 to more than $100,000—by selling information about a vulnerability to companies that have bug bounty programs. White hats are considered the good guys.

The term comes from old Western movies, where heros often wore white hats and the “bad guys” wore black hats.

Share This: