Difference between Hacker and Cracker: All that You Need to Know
“Hacking involves a Different Way of Looking at Problems that No One’s Thought of” - Walter O’ Brien
In common usage, the word ‘hack’ refers to acquiring illegitimate access to data in a digital system. Consequently, what does the word ‘hacker’ convey to you? I am sure you would immediately conjure a mental image of a man with a black hoodie, trying to break into a computer system through unauthorized means. However, this is too simplistic an assumption. In reality, the word ‘hacker’ might not imply such a cyber criminal. This leads us then to the question of what is the difference between a Hacker and a Cracker. For a lay man, an understanding of these technical differences might not be so significant. However, the issue of Hacker vs. Cracker is very much a real one and should definitely be made sense of, especially by those seeking to understand the Cyberspace at large.
In this blog, we shall look at the difference between Hacker and Cracker. The issue of Cracker vs. Hacker will be sought to be sufficiently dealt with by trying to understand the two terms at length. Moreover, in order to do away with the generalized thinking which accompanies the word ‘hacker’; the topic of, Hacker vs. Cracker Difference will be elaborately explained, by referring to the different terms which are related to the given issue.
Hacker vs. Cracker: Who are Hackers?
Hackers are ‘noble’ computer experts or programmers who possess adequate knowledge of coding and programming in order to perform legal intrusion of a computer or network system, with the objective of detecting possible security loopholes, infrastructure weaknesses or vulnerabilities, which can become potential gateways for a Cyber Attack. Hackers do not work with the intention of stealing or misusing data or even harming the system. In this respect, they indulge in Ethical Hacking in order to safeguard the network infrastructure against Crackers or Black Hat Hackers.
Ethical Hacking or Penetration Testing has emerged as one of the coveted specialised fields within the domain of Cyber Security. Ethical Hackers are in high demand within organizations cutting across industries. If you wish to know more on how to initiate your career in the field, do read our blog on “Learn Ethical Hacking from Scratch: Know How”
Hackers play a crucial role in testing the cyber defences of an organization. They are specifically recruited by companies in order to identify flaws and defects in security and network systems. In fact, even before executing the act of hacking, hackers are liable to acquire Written Formal Permission from the owners of the organization. For instance, the help of hackers is widely sought by Law Enforcement Agencies in order to acquire more information on cyber criminals.
Cracker vs. Hacker: Who are Crackers?
Crackers are essentially ‘malicious and evil’ computer experts or programmers who use their technical proficiency and expertise for breaking a network infrastructure or computer system in order to acquire unlawful access. The illegality of the actions performed by Crackers is one of the most important difference between Cracker and Hacker. Unlike Hackers, Crackers misuse their knowledge for their own vested interests and personal and financial gains. The illegitimate access acquired by Crackers might result in data theft, data leakage or data deletion.
Difference between Hacker and Cracker
In this section, we shall look at the issue of Hacker vs. Cracker through a comparative table.
Hacker vs. Cracker Difference: Understanding the Terms related to the Topic
The field of Cyber Security in itself is a vast one. There exist infinite concepts and terminologies. It is quite common that you might end up confusing one with the other. For the purpose of conceptual clarity, when you are looking at the difference between Cracker and Hacker; it is important to be aware of some of the associated terms as well.
- Elite Hacker
An Elite Hacker is a phrase used to refer to the most competent hacker. These hackers are like heads of groups, who spread newly found exploits.
- Black Hat Hacker
These are individuals who acquire illegal and unauthorized access to a system and use their skills for breaching confidential information. Their objective is generally to steal critical data, disrupt the operation of the system, block network connection or perform other kinds of malicious activities.
- White Hat Hacker
These are Ethical Hackers who perform the task of Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment. They do break into a system, but they do so by remaining within the legal boundaries of rules set by the organization. They act as security specialists whose role is to identify vulnerabilities and flaws in the existing system which can potentially be misused.
- Grey Hat Hacker
These individuals share the traits of a black and a white hat hacker. Like a white hat hacker, the intention of a grey hat hacker for hacking a system is not necessarily bad; and like a black hat hacker, a grey hat hacker also do not have permission to break into the system. However, unlike a black hat hacker, they do not exploit the vulnerabilities and generally report the same to the owner in lieu of small rewards.
- Blue Hat Hacker
This individual works outside the confines of computer security consulting firms. They are responsible for bug testing software products, before they are released.
- Suicide Hacker
As the name suggests, these are reckless individuals. Their objective is to bring down vital network infrastructure for a specific motive. At the same time, they generally do not care about the consequences of the same, which might even land them in prison.
- Script Kiddie
This individual is one who has very little experience in the field of hacking. They seek to acquire access to computer systems and networks with the help of pre-existing tools created by others.
Also known as a newbie or noob; this person is someone who is completely new to the world of hacking. They have little and mostly no knowledge of how hacking operates.
It is evident that the difference between Hacker and Cracker is more of an effort to establish conceptual clarity of the terms used within the discipline. In common usage, the term, ‘Hacker’ does carry negative connotations and for most individuals, the term, ‘Cracker’ within the field of Cyber Security, might be completely unknown. Even then, the issue of Hacker vs. Cracker is definitely a real one and as such should be taken account of as one seeks to acquire disciplinary expertise.
Given the immense damage that Cyber Attacks can result in for organizations and individuals alike; the role of Cyber Security experts is no less than that of a savior. Since data is the foundation stone of most organizations; an effort to safeguard the same has become an urgent need for all. Consequently, the prospects of a career in Cyber Security are infinite and unimaginable. We, at Syntax Technologies, offer you the lucrative opportunities of acquiring expertise akin to a Cyber Security expert, from the comfort of your homes. Enrol now for our Cyber Security course.