Nowadays, cyber security has become equivalent to physical security. If a cyber criminal steals your passwords or your credits cards, it is as if he steals your keys or your wallet in the street. The problem with the internet is that the “wallet” is shown to everyone. It can be seen by all users, and if an attacker has access to your online accounts, your digital life would become posted in some websites that build their businesses on stories like yours. Paying with online credits cards is as if you are walking in the street, and you say to thieves: “Hi, I am here!”. Your digital life, in the context that seems to be interesting for attackers, can be your social networks messages, your emails, your pictures, your location, and your personal information (Dejoie, Fawler, & Paradice, 1991).
Hence, we can see clearly that cybersecurity is a large field in computer science that encapsulates variant subfields. For instance, there is cryptography that encrypts your passwords and connections with external servers, malware analysis which stops the propagation of malwares online by analyzing how they behave under certain conditions, applications security which tackles the potential security issues in web, mobile, and network applications. These subfields tend to secure the different aspects of your digital life and protect your privacy from attackers.
I have been using the word “attacker” since the beginning of this article because it is technically more significant than the “hacker”. Hackers are not all the same. Prejudgments that the society has about hackers is that they are unsocial (Graham, 2011). They promote them as creatures who do not believe in mercy. The idea of liking to destroy things is built upon the illusion that resides in filmmakers’ minds. They have been promoting it in their movies to make them more interesting for people to watch. Hackers are always seen as magicians. They are always in front of black screens that prompt green messages. While reading these lines, you remember a movie in which a hacker is described in the same manner. Surprisingly, hackers are normal people who live normal lives like mine and yours. They are just more curious and brave. In addition, they dedicate more time to looking for new bugs or read more about the new technologies since it is a field that evolves quickly (Graham, 2011).
Technically, hackers are divided into three main categories depending on the main purpose of their cyber activities. The three types of hackers are white, grey, and black hats. The colors are significant because the white ones are the hackers who report for bugs and secure applications for the sake of protecting Humanity; grey hats are the hackers who think about what they should submit in the report when a security issue is found. They tend to hide some information for illegal and unethical use. Finally, black hats are the hackers who like to destroy websites, sell credits cards, and get paid by hacking a user online (Thomas, 2001). So, the concept of ethics is solid in cyber security. An ethical hacker is always a white hat who does not wait for the awards or recognition to protect users online. Ethics are the lines that separate the different types of hackers. In other words, the colors of hats vary depending on the importance of ethics in the hacker’s behavior.
Dejoie, R., Fawler, G., & Paradice, D. (1991). Ethical Issues in Information Systems. Boston: Boyd & Fraser.
Graham, P. (2011). Hackers and Painters. O’Reilly.
Thomas, D. (2001). Hacker Culture. London: University of Minnesota Press.
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