Who is a Hacker? Types, Skills Every Thing You Need to Know

what is hacker

A hacker is a person who enjoys working with technology or computer systems. Hackers love to explore and learn how computer systems work, with the goal of improving what they do or making them do something they weren’t supposed to do. Hacking can occur for a variety of purposes, including the installation of malware, the loss or theft of data, the disruption of service, and others. Hacking can also be done for ethical purposes, such as attempting to discover software flaws so that they can be fixed.

Historically, the term hacker has been polarising, sometimes being used as a term of respect for persons who demonstrate a high level of expertise and uniqueness in their approach to technological difficulties. However, the word is also used to describe those who employ this expertise for unlawful or illegal objectives.

The term “hacker” was used in the 1960s to represent a programmer or an individual who, in an era of severely limited computer capabilities, could improve the efficiency of computer code by removing, or hacking, unnecessary machine code instructions from a programme. It has come to describe to someone who has a deep grasp of computers, networking, programming, or hardware.

Types of hackers:

White Hat Hacker

These are considered the good guys. White hat hackers don’t use their skills for illegal purposes. They usually become Computer Security experts and help protect people from the Black Hats.

Black Hat Hacker

These are considered the bad guys. Black hat hackers usually use their skills maliciously for personal gain. They are the people that hack banks, steal credit cards, and deface websites.

These two terms came from the old western movies where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats.

Grey Hat Hacker

hackers exist somewhere in the middle. They may utilise their abilities to detect security flaws, but they do so without authorization. Grey hat hackers, as opposed to black hat hackers who engage in unlawful actions, may reveal the vulnerability to the organisation after exploiting it for their personal advantage. What exactly is a grey hat hacker? They have both good and awful intents.

Hacker Hierarchy

Script kiddies

These are the wannabe hackers. They are looked down upon in the hacker community because they are the people that make hackers look bad. Script kiddies usually have no hacking skills and use the tools developed by other hackers without any knowledge of what’s happening behind the scenes.


are groups of hackers that employ cyber assaults to effect political change. The goal is to draw public attention to what the hacktivist feels violates ethics or human rights. Hacktivism assaults may aim to expose proof of wrongdoing by making private chats, photographs, or information public.

Intermediate hacker

These people usually know about computers, networks, and have enough programming knowledge to understand relatively what a script might do, but like the script kiddies they use pre-developed well-known exploits (- a piece of code that takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability in apiece of software that allows you to take control of a computer system) to carry out attacks

Elite Hacker

These are the skilled hackers. They are the ones that write the many hacker tools and exploits out there. They can break into systems and hide their tracks or make it look like someone else did it. You should strive to eventually reach this level.

What does it take to become a hacker?

Becoming a great hacker isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen quickly. Being creative helps a lot. There is more than one way a problem can be solved, and as a hacker you encounter many problems. The more creative you are the bigger chance you have of hacking a system without being detected. Another huge quality you must have is the will to learn because without it, you will get nowhere. Remember, Knowledge is power. Patience is also a must because many topics can be difficult to grasp and only over time will you master them

Skills and Knowledge of Hackers

Depending on their particular field of specialisation and whether they carry out malevolent or ethical operations, hackers have a wide range of abilities. It is crucial to remember that not all hackers participate in illicit or immoral endeavours; others utilise their ability to find security flaws or enhance security. The following are some abilities and know-how that hackers could have:

Programming and Scripting:

Proficiency in programming languages like Python, C/C , Ruby, Perl, and JavaScript is important for hackers. They use these languages to expand exploits, write scripts, and create tools for numerous obligations.

Operating Systems:

A deep information of diverse operating systems, which includes Windows, Linux, and macOS, is important for hackers. They want to realize how these structures work, their vulnerabilities, and how to make the most or stable them.


Hackers regularly have in-intensity know-how of pc networks, including TCP/IP protocols, routing, and network protection. They understand how data is transmitted and might discover vulnerabilities in community configurations.

Web Application Security:

Knowledge of web software protection is essential for the ones interested by hacking websites and web-primarily based services. This includes expertise common internet vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-website scripting (XSS), and cross-web page request forgery (CSRF).


An understanding of encryption and decryption strategies is important, as cryptography performs a important position in securing information and communications. Some hackers consciousness on breaking encryption to advantage unauthorized get right of entry to.

Reverse Engineering:

Reverse engineering includes dissecting software or hardware to recognize the way it works or to find vulnerabilities. This ability is treasured for figuring out weaknesses in proprietary systems.

Penetration Testing:

Ethical hacker, referred to as penetration tester or “white hat” hacker. Use their abilities to assess the security of computer systems, networks, and packages. They simulate cyberattacks to perceive vulnerabilities earlier than malicious hackers can make the most them.

Social Engineering:

This talent includes manipulating humans to benefit unauthorized access. Social engineers use strategies like phishing, pretexting, and baiting to mislead individuals into revealing touchy statistics.

Exploitation Techniques:

Knowledge of vulnerabilities and the capability to develop or use exploits to compromise systems is a middle ability for many hackers. This includes information buffer overflows, 0-day vulnerabilities, and privilege escalation.

Cloud Security:

As groups an increasing number of flow to cloud-based services, hackers with understanding in cloud security can pick out vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in cloud systems.


Some hackers work in digital forensics, helping regulation enforcement or companies inspect cybercrimes and incidents. They need to understand a way to gather and examine virtual proof.

Famous Hackers

There have been many famous hackers throughout the history of computer and internet security. Some of them are known for their malicious activities, while others have used their skills for ethical or political purposes. Here are a few famous hackers:

Kevin Mitnick:

Kevin Mitnick is one of the most famous and notorious hacker. He was involved in a series of high-profile cybercrimes in the 1980s and 1990s, including hacking into computer systems and stealing sensitive information. After serving time in prison, he became a cybersecurity consultant.

Adrian Lamo:

Adrian Lamo was known for turning in Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks. Lamo reported Manning to the authorities, leading to Manning’s arrest.

Edward Snowden:

Edward Snowden is a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked classified documents that exposed extensive government surveillance programs. His actions sparked a global debate on privacy and surveillance.

Kevin Poulsen:

Kevin Poulsen, also known as “Dark Dante,” was involved in hacking phone lines and radio station contests. He later became a respected journalist and cybersecurity expert.


LulzSec was a loosely organized hacking group known for high-profile cyberattacks, including on Sony Pictures, PBS, and various gaming companies. Some of its members were eventually arrested and sentenced.


Anonymous is a decentralized and loosely organized hacktivist collective known for participating in various online protests and cyberattacks, often in support of political or social causes.

Jeanson James Ancheta:

Jeanson James Ancheta was responsible for creating a botnet, a network of infected computers used for malicious purposes. He was arrested and sentenced to prison for his cybercrimes.

These individuals have made their mark on the world of hacking and cybersecurity, either through their malicious activities or their roles in exposing vulnerabilities and advocating for cybersecurity and privacy.

Also Read:

What is Hacking? How to Become an Ethical Hacker

The Best Ethical Hacking Books To Learn Hacking In 2023

CEH v11 Certified Ethical Hacker PDF Download

Unlocking the Secrets: How to Develop a Hacker Mindset

The World’s Top 8 Most Famous Female Hacker


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