Different types of hacking and the future of hacking
Teenager Jack Sweeney has taken the world by storm since he hacked and tracked the jets and yachts of Russian oligarchs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. By publishing his tracker bots on Twitter, he has made this tracking data public, for just about anyone to see.
Hacking, such as what Sweeney did, has become more popular compared to a decade ago, especially within teens determined to reveal the truth and override censorship by previous generations. Harshit Agarwal from AppKnox describes three types of hackers, what drives these hackers to do what they do and future implications of hacking.
Black hat hackers are similar to those you would see in Hollywood shows. They are hackers that hack for the malicious intent of spreading malware and stealing personal information. By finding secure information that people may want to keep private, the hackers get money through ransom by blackmailing individuals.
On the contrary, white hat hackers, who are, in oversimplified terms, the “good” hackers. They are often hired by security companies or even governments in order to try to hack websites that are critical in storing important and private information. Sometimes, this form of hacking is also called ethical hacking, because of its intent to help identify and solve privacy issues that may arise. By hiring hackers who try to crack the code, these companies find vulnerabilities in their digital platforms that can be fixed. There is monetary compensation for these hackers, but it is often through legal means, which is why these hackers are classified as good compared to black hat hackers.
Ethical hacking has become popular amongst teens exploring their interests in STEM, especially those passionate about computer science and coding. Monta Vista has its own mini community for these hackers, who are a part of the Ethical Hacking Club on campus.
“Ethical hacking is a fun way to challenge yourself while trying to find holes in real world applications that could potentially cause bigger problems in the future,” says sophomore Aarya Chamkeri, a member of the club. “The best part is that it’s completely legal, so I don’t need to be concerned about the consequences.”
Finally, there are gray hat hackers, who are in neutral territory. The best representation of these hackers are people who work for money, and people who value that money more than anything, meaning that they are hackers-for-hire. Whichever side pays them more, either the lawful side trying to increase and protect the internet safety of people or the dark web trying to compromise this safety, is the side the hackers work for… until they get a deal that gives them more money. If they were hired by the government to do a certain job and to find vulnerabilities, but are not paid as they wish, then it is likely for them to release these security details to third parties who are willing to pay them the amount they want.
Hacking is predicted to grow in the future, as technology becomes a more evident part of our everyday lives and hackers become increasingly motivated by money. In a podcast episode from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Ava Sasani explains how many large scale companies are already playing defense to hackers trying to take advantage of susceptibilities in software that can affect millions of people internationally. The opportunities made possible by hacking have made bounds and leaps recently. In addition to tracking Musk’s jets, Sweeney has also made an effort to track the jets and yachts of Russian oligarchs, in the wake of the Russian invasion on Ukraine. These oligarchs have come under pressure recently, as Putin’s closest allies and advisors within Russia, following the economic sanctions placed on Russia by the international community. Software engineer Suresh Senniappan, explains that an increase in cyber security technology also invites hackers to refine their skills at younger and younger ages, as showcased by Sweeney, who is only a freshman in college. “Technology has to develop at faster rates in order to keep a majority of black hat hackers from succeeding, because otherwise, global networks of information could be at risk.” Senniappan said.
The potential for technological combat is also being taken into consideration, which could be an especially concerning aspect if the United States were to enter a war with Russia, in the case that Russia invades Poland. Sandra Erwin from SpaceNews tells how cyber warfare has become a reality as Viasat’s KA-SAT, a satellite that provides internet services to Europe, was attacked. Freshman Ali Malik states, “Especially with the current events that we have today, hacking can be used a lot, specifically in technological warfare.You have cyber security, cyber attacks, and as usage of autonomous weapons increases, you’ll have a society where hacking these weapons in order to gain an advantage for your country becomes a daily aspect.”