What is a Grey Hat Hacker in Cybersecurity?

In the cyber security world, a grey hat hacker is someone who applies unlawful tactics to find dangers, even though he or she does not share the evil intent that is often associated with black hat hacking. GREY HAT HACKERS represent a middle ground between white hat hackers who strive to safeguard systems and networks from attacks and black hat hackers who exploit vulnerabilities for malevolent gain.

White hat hackers aim to defend systems and networks from attacks. In essence, a grey hat hacker is someone who searches for vulnerabilities in hardware or software without the consent of the maker in order to raise awareness about his or her discoveries.

Grey hat hackers are akin to modern-day Robin Hoods, who are prepared to put their own ethics and laws aside for the greater good of the community they serve.

Some people see the cybersecurity scene as a battleground between white hat and black hat hackers. Many people fail to recognise the significance of grey hat hackers, who identify vulnerabilities and work with security researchers to develop solutions that prevent black hat hackers from exploiting them. That is demonstrated in the following instances of the work done by grey hat hackers throughout the course of time.

Examples of Grey Hat Hacking include the following:

  • ASUS Routers
    In 2014, a grey hat hacker was successful in gaining access to thousands of ASUS routers in order to warn consumers that their files may be exposed if they did not fix the vulnerability that he had identified.
  • Linux Routers
    In 2015, a group of grey hat hackers known as the “White Team” discovered a security flaw in a specific kind of Linux router that was previously unknown. In order to close the security hole, the group created malware that would allow those who were impacted to close the hole.
  • Printers
    Over 150,000 printers were commandeered by a grey hat hacker in 2017 in order to alert its users about the dangers of keeping internet printers open.
  • MikroTik Routers
    Alexey, a Russian grey hat hacker, patched over 100,000 MikroTik routers in order to prevent bitcoin miners from making use of a security flaw.

Despite the fact that these grey hat hackers had no nefarious intentions, the invasion of privacy they perpetrated was not well welcomed by the general public.

When it comes to grey hat hacking, what are the risks?

Because grey hat hackers have the ability to engage in unlawful activity, many are concerned that they may join the dark side. While grey hat hackers who uncover vulnerabilities communicate their discoveries to the firms that are impacted, they are frequently disregarded or even reported to the appropriate authorities. Is it inevitable that they will eventually turn into black hat hackers themselves if they continue to be ignored?

According to the findings of a poll of more than 900 security specialists from around the world, black hat actions are rather common. Almost half of the respondents were aware that some of their coworkers were grey hat hackers, or even black hat hackers, according to the survey results. The vast majority of them feel that the big compensation that black hat hackers receive is the driving force for their decision to quit the grey hat hacker cause. Aside from that, many grey hat hackers engage in their activities because they love a good challenge.

A grey hat hacker is someone who operates on the borderline between the good and the bad. Some grey hat hackers are motivated by a desire to get attention. Others are simply motivated by a desire to assist others. “Does the aim justify the means?” is the question that the majority of people are asking.

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