Gray Hat Hackers
A gray hat hacker is a computer hacker who penetrates systems and networks without permission (similar to “Black Hat Hackers”) but with good ethical intentions (similar to “White Hat Hackers”). White Hats Hackers are ethical security hackers who perform evaluations and tests at the behest of corporations or organizations. In contrast, Black Hat Hackers are computer hackers who penetrate systems for personal profit or malicious intent.
Originally, White Hats and Black Hats were named for the heroes and villains of old Western movies. While they work in similar roles, Gray Hat Hackers operate with vigilante-esque intentions; they act without legitimate authority but still work to increase security and protect systems from exploitation instead of exploiting them in turn. Their goals are to alert owners to their systems’ problems, but they do still act outside the boundaries set by the law or by the organizations in question. They will report issues rather than exploit them. However, it is ultimately up to the organizations affected if they will accept the aid as intended or pursue action against the Gray Hats entering their networks without permission.
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