Hacker and cybercriminal are words often used interchangeably to refer to those who perform some type of fraud or criminal activity on the Internet, but…Are these words really synonyms?


A hacker is an expert in security and systems who is enthusiastic about programming. They are curious by nature. Their vast knowledge and experience make them experts when it comes to detecting and finding security breaches in any program, software and device. Many companies hire them to carry out security audits and improve network security before a cybercriminal comes along and exploits any potential vulnerabilities.

The reasons that can lead a hacker to enter a system can be different: they can do it just for fun, for curiosity, for work or to contribute to the Internet community, but never for illegal or unethical reasons.

Cybercriminal, cracker or black hat

People who are capable of (almost) doing anything to make money such as hijacking computers, impersonating people, extorting victims, etc.

Like hackers, cybercriminals usually have extensive knowledge about computing. However, there are also many cybercriminals who subcontract malicious software or even other cybercriminals to do a certain job. Their goal is always the same: to make a profit by entering unauthorized networks or systems by stealing information, hijacking resources or selling confidential data on the Dark Web.

Another commonly used classification is:

  • White hat: White hats look for vulnerabilities in systems or applications within the legal framework. Normally they are security consultants who do security tests and find vulnerabilities to correct them.
  • Grey hatIn general, these people focus on defending systems already attacked.
  • Black hat: Unlike white hats, black hats look for vulnerabilities to exploit them and profit from it. Sometimes, they also do so to protest or make clear what their position is on a specific subject.

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