Red hat hackers are similar to white hat hackers because both of them are ethical hackers. But white hackers go by the book whereas the other change, mould or completely disregard the rules. This sounds like something out of a movie, but it is true. Another definition of Red hat hackers is one who hacks or targets Linux operating systems. What’s more interesting is that red hat hackers are also known as vigilantes because of their unique goals.
The Red hat hacker category is a vast category but often misplaced and forgotten. Major groups like Anonymous lie in this category. Most people do not even consider this as a category, which is a misconception. The misconception is due to lack of awareness, normally, they would consider them as black hats. There is a clear difference between these.
How is a Red Hat hacker different from a White Hat hacker?
White hat or Red hat both of them aim to stop black hat hackers. A couple of differences to so you may understand the gist of this:
- A White hat hacker would not harm the Black hat hacker, but Red hats would.
- A White hat hacker prevents the Black hat from hacking whereas Red hat hacker would try to disarm them permanently or even harm them.
- White hat hackers are paid and some do for free, whereas the other hacker, can be paid, but his/her main aim would not be the money.
- Red hats can have also attacked White hats as well and will continue to do so if Red hats think White hats are wrong.
Red Hat hackers attacking Black Hat hackers
To elaborate on this, let’s take an example. Andrew is a White hat hacker, John is a Red hat hacker, and Harley is a Black hat hacker. A system is compromised, an unknown user is downloading data from a certain IP located in the USA. Andrew and John are notified, Andrew tries to stop the download immediately before it completes whereas John adds a virus inside the file that Harley is trying to download. Harley opens the file to see the data which triggers the virus file that takes control over her computer. The virus can do multiple things like corrupt all data, send data to John, empty all drives, and so much more.
A red hat hacker does protect IT systems from hacks, but the methodologies and nature of hacks are different. They will most likely harm the Black hat hacker’s computer using viruses and attacks like DoS and more. White hat hacker’s first priority is to report or help the authorities arrest the Black hat hacker, but the Vigilante hacker’s priority is to engage directly and disarm Black hat hackers.
Some tactics and hacking methods do Red Hat Hackers use:
- DoS (Denial of Service) and its variants like DDoS. (Illegal)
- Hacking social and merchant accounts like Facebook and Paypal. (Illegal)
- Clickjacking. (Legal if it is for security testing of a site with permission)
- Cross-site scripting XSS. (Legal if it is for security testing of a site with permission)
- Viruses. (Illegal)
- RDP hacking (Remote Desktop Protocol). (Illegal)
Red Hat hackers attacking White Hat hackers
Most governments and their computer specialists are considered White hats. However, Red hats like Anonymous have no regard for that. Operation Tunisia was conducted against the Tunisian government during Tunisian Revolution. This group launched DDoS attacks against government websites and provided Tunisian people with scripts to prevent the Tunisian government from intercepting the proxy being used by people. Here is the website of Tunisian Anonymous. This is one of the many examples set by Red hat hackers dictating their aim: We do not care if you are an individual, organization, company, or a government. If you are a criminal, then justice will be set upon you.
The definition of Red hat hacker is a computer specialist using their expertise to stop or disarm those who they think is a criminal. This criminal is not limited to a specific individual as we have seen in the past, it can be a government, company, or organization.
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