Ethical Hacking 101: Get to Know the Top 5 White Hat Hackers of All Time
What do you think about after hearing the word "hacker"? For many, the term has become painfully associated with digital crime and the illegal actions of cyber threat actors. Truthfully, though, there are tons of ethical hackers out there who put their information security expertise to work to make our world safer and more secure. Initially, terms like a hacker, cracker, and phreaker or hacking, cracking, and phreaking described individuals and actions involving using advanced computer science, network security, and knowledge about telecommunications infrastructure to complete various objectives. Criminals have given the words somewhat of a negative connotation there, and this isn't entirely fair. Throughout the world, ethical hackers are employed in governments, deployed in private organizations, and working to help secure digital assets and infrastructure against the intrusion and encroachment of would-be criminals and state-sanctioned cyber exploitation efforts. These individuals and the organizations they serve are often known as "white hats" and "white hat hackers." Though many do not agree with this somewhat simplistic and dualistic way of thinking, for better or worse, these terms contrast with the idea of "black hats" and "black hat hackers" that use their cyber expertise for less honorable purposes. Though there are many symbolic connections to other topics, these ideas of white and black being in opposition are a timeless convention. Just as in the medieval world, white knights and black knights opposed each other on fields of battle and war. They were divided by their ideologies and attitudes towards personal responsibility. Today's white hat hackers and black hat hackers often find themselves eye to eye in a constant struggle for cyber supremacy and control of the digital networks that have become central to modern human existence. This article outlines the top five most famous ethical hackers of all time. It provides praise for their historic efforts to enhance global cybersecurity and digital resilience to exploitation and crime.