Hackers With Enigmatic Motives Vex Companies

Hackers With Enigmatic Motives Vex Companies
Hackers With Enigmatic Motives Vex Companies 

By Nick Bilton
The New York Times
July 25, 2010

The world of hackers can be roughly divided into three groups. "Black 
hats" break into corporate computer systems for fun and profit, taking 
credit card numbers and e-mail addresses to sell and trade with other 
hackers, while the "white hats" help companies stop their disruptive 

But it is the third group, the "gray hats," that are the most vexing for 
companies. These hackers play it any number of ways, which can leave a 
company vulnerable to lost assets as well as a tarnished reputation as 
security breaches are exposed. (The terms are a nod to westerns, with 
the villain wearing a black hat and the hero a white one.)

These gray-hat hackers surreptitiously break into corporate computers to 
find security weaknesses. They then choose whether to notify the company 
and stay silent until the hole has been patched or embarrass the company 
by exposing the problem.

The debate among all of these groups over the best course of action has 
never been settled and will be an undercurrent at the Def Con 18 hackers 
conference starting Friday in Las Vegas.


Attend Black Hat USA 2010, hosted at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada
July 24-29th, offering over 60 training sessions and 11 tracks of Briefings
from security industry elite. To sign up visit 

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