Before talking about who the white hat hackers are, it is useful to examine the meaning of the word.
In English, the verb “hack” simply means to cut or chop something with short and powerful blows. The word hacker was a term often used in automotive long before computers, just as the word Chopper is used for motorcycles that are formed by cutting certain parts and welding other things instead.
For the computer world, the hacker means that they do these things, but for this, it means that they know very well how the computer works, all the details, and can disassemble and install it blindly. In other words, the word that can be used as a person who knows something very well does not actually have a positive or negative meaning. However, throughout history, the word “hacker” was used in the world of computers, especially in America, to people who abuse their knowledge and skills and gain unauthorized access to computers.
As a result, there is no right word left for those who use the same knowledge and skill for good. So the press started to quote cowboy movies and called these people “hackers with white hats.” The cowboys, who were equally skilled in these films, but were reserved on the side of using their abilities for good or evil, were dressed in black and white hats. Actors in the industry have started to use this distinction with the term hacker. Thus, the white hat hacker rhetoric emerged.
How can one tell if a hacker is good in a world of aliases?
The only way to tell the difference between a white hat hacker and a black hat hacker is by examining their behavior. This situation is actually not something we are very unfamiliar with in our daily life. In many popular social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram, there are people who use pseudonyms instead of their real names.
Black hat hackers prefer to hide their name because of the advantages of not getting caught and not taking responsibility for their crimes. White hat hackers, on the other hand, prefer nicknames to listen to the communication between the malicious intentions on the same platforms with the other party, to develop themselves further and to learn about the potential attack.
On the other hand, while black hat hackers hide themselves with pseudonyms, white hat hackers taking place in this world with their real names will give black hat hackers an incredible advantage. Attackers, who know computers and systems like the back of their hand, can attack from many areas that will greatly disrupt their real life, from bank account to identity information, if they know the real name of the person standing in front of them. In fact, it can reach loved ones without limiting these attacks to that person alone.
What exactly is the cyber war in the world? Which institutions are taking part in this area?
White-hat hackers fight against black-hat hackers by taking part in the security of security companies, public and private sector companies, as well as working independently (freelancers). Many high school and university students also play an active role in this field with white hats. We officially call the professionals in this position as security experts. Similarly, when there is an attack on a country, a public institution, bank or energy institution is targeted. Each of them has either a security team within themselves or a security company that they support from outside. Therefore, a possible attack is firstly encountered by white hat hackers in these teams.
Apart from that, countries and companies have cyber incidents response teams and certain coordination structures for this. CSIRT (Cyber Security Incident Response Team) operating in our country communicates with banks and critical sectors.
Apart from this, companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple organize award programs, have their systems tested by people with the necessary knowledge and take precautions before an attack occurs. But it takes a lot of resources to manage their own award programs because it’s not their main business. Therefore, the cooperation of many companies with platforms such as BugBounter.com for processes such as opening and managing award programs, determining the rules, and ensuring the relationship gives them a great advantage. Contracts of hundreds of white hat hackers included in the platform are managed by the platform, passed through verification processes and brought together with customers.