To answer this question, it should be made clear that the word “hacker” is understood differently in the mass media than in the IT community. The media commonly use it against people who break the security of computer systems, which in the IT vocabulary is called “cracking”, and those who break these security are called “crackers”. Formally, the definition of a hacker defines a person who gains unauthorized access to computer resources / system.
People or groups that we now equate to hackers in our colloquial language are:
Script kiddie – their activity is limited only to downloading ready-made programs or tools and using them to perform an attack. They do not know the technical details of what they are going to do, let alone create any tools on their own. Unfortunately, this group is growing very quickly, because a whole portfolio of programs or services that can be purchased has appeared on the Internet.
Scammers –criminals pretending to be shop owners, courier companies, offices or websites with advertisements and even a vaccine lottery. In addition, they use social networks, targeting where information spreads very quickly. Fraud is based on instilling trust in another person, thanks to which it is possible to easily control their choices and forcing them to entrust, for example, their money or personal data. The correspondent fraudster promises something that the other party counts on.
Hactivists – the most popular group of hactivists nowadays is Anonymous, which has no leader and is very spontaneous. It is an international community that demonstrates its protest in a matter by means of attacks on the Internet (usually DDoS). In Poland, the most famous was the ACTA protest, during which government websites or the police website were attacked. Hactivists played an enormous role, for example, in the revolution in Egypt and other North African countries.
Military hackers – each self-respecting country creates special operational groups whose goal is to be active on the Internet. Such groups specialize in breaking into foreign government databases, official computer networks of other countries, and recent cases show that the activities of such groups may even affect the election results. They have a practically unlimited budget, especially when they operate in areas considered to be state security. Let’s hope that soon there will also be a cyber police force that will eliminate threats like this gentleman: https://tiny.pl/97xhc
Cyberterrorists – the activities of this group appear more and more often in the headlines of news websites. The internet has no boundaries, so you can do a whole host of activities designed to harm people or systems in another country. The activity of such a group may result in, for example, switching off the power grid, water supply or oil-bearing network.
Mercenaries – they distribute malware as a service. Thus, you do not need to be familiar with any technologies, it is enough to wait for the result of the ordered action.
Pirates – they take possession of digital content such as programs, movies or games with the intention of further copying and making it available to the public outside of official distribution channels.
Ethical Hackers – an essential feature of ethical hackers is to act in accordance with the law. Professionals in this field build and secure huge network infrastructures, build tools for protection and cyber attacks themselves, analyze malware or have the status of scientific researchers in the field of security. Many of the ethical hackers also deal with risk analysis in smaller and larger organizations, organizing information campaigns and educating staff. An ethical hacker may also offer cybersecurity consulting or security auditing services. Especially for them, many companies create bug bounty programs in which they reward 5 or 6 digital payments for finding a vulnerability or a potential vulnerability to attack. There is one condition, you should report it directly to administrators and share information more widely only after “patching” the hole.