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Hacking Vs Ethical Hacking: What Sets Them Apart?

Last updated on May 24,2023 10.1K Views

5 / 5 Blog from Introduction To Cybersecurity

Each time we hear a word Hacking the first thing people relate it to is malicious cyber practices. Is that completely true though? In this article we will put forth the debate on Hacking vs Ethical Hacking comparing these two terms to understand them better. Following pointers will be covered in this article,

So let us get started

General Perspective Towards Hacking And Ethical Hacking

Hacking is referred to as the illegal or legal practices of accessing data stored in any system by experts. These experts are termed as Hackers. Hackers have all the knowledge related to programming and its concepts. The mistakes that are done by programmers while developing or working on a software are picked up by hackers to encroach the security framework of the software.

Ethical hacking is conducted by hackers as well but their intention behind hacking is not for malicious purposes. Their services are used to check and build on software security and thus help to develop the security system of a framework in a business or organization to prevent potential threats. Ethical hackers are referred to as White Hats, who end up provide protection from the Black Hats who are the unethical hackers. Ethical hacking is adopted by many almost every organization. If you are excited to know more about Ethical hacking, join the CEH Certification training today.

To know more about Ethical Hacking, check out this video.

What is Ethical Hacking? | Ethical Hacking for Beginners | Ethical Hacking Course | Edureka

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Hacking vs Ethical Hacking

White Hat Hackers vs Black Hat Hackers

Black Hat Hackers’ objective:

  • To steal valuable information from another user
  • To steal money through transactions and accounts
  • To get access to free music and videos
  • Downloading free hacking software which is considered an illegal activity
  • To steal valuable information from military/navy organizations etc
  • To access restricted networking spaces

Sample - Hacking vs Ethical Hacking - EdurekaWhite Hat Hackers’ objective:

  • To improve the security framework in a system
  • Developing high security programming language like Linux
  • Developing most of the security software for organizations
  • Checking and updating security softwares
  • Developing programs like pop up blocker, firewall and ad blocker

Sample - Hacking vs Ethical Hacking - Edureka

The types of Black Hat hackers are:

  • Phreakers – Hackers who hack the telephone networks
  • Crackers – Hackers who remove the security wall of a software by using software patches
  • Carders – Hackers who attack ATM or credit cards to retrieve user information
  • Script Kiddies – Hackers who want to attack computer systems for no purpose

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Categories Of Hacking

  • Windows Hacking
  • Database Hacking
  • Web Hacking
  • Network Hacking

Other methods of Hacking


In this kind of hacking, hackers use their skills to hack passwords of emails or websites. People usually receive phishing emails in their inbox. The hackers usually derive login information of the users by their emailids by asking them to log in and redirecting it to their website.


Sometimes, robots do the hacking job through botnets.


This is a relatively new technique adopted by hackers to breach information. Hackers install a device on a motherboard port and whatever is typed on the keyboard, is stolen.

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Hackers vs Crackers

It is commonly assumed and accepted that hackers help to build security whereas crackers aim to break security. There is a major difference between how the two work although they both engage in hacking of some sort. Hackers usually have an advanced level knowledge regarding computer security and possess all the technical knowledge required as well but are not necessarily skilful as hackers. Few of them are skilled enough to develop their own software and tools. Hackers aim to counter attack threats posed by crackers to the computer systems as well as internet security across networks.

On the other hand, crackers are well aware that their activities are illegal and thus are criminal activities hence they try to cover their tracks. Even though crackers may be highly skilled in breaching systems, professional hackers can restore the security of the breached system and catch the cracker with their skills and competency. Crackers possess highly advanced and technical knowledge and can create software and tools that are powerful enough to damage and exploit systems after analyzing the system’s weak areas. Most of the times, crackers do not leave their mark behind as they are very efficient and careful in executing their work.

However they pose a serious threat to the internet security. It is well established that hackers are ethical professionals whereas crackers hack into systems illegally and without consent. Apart from this major difference, another difference is with regards to their understanding of computer systems and security systems. Hackers can write codes in many languages and possess in depth knowledge of computer languages like C, C++, HTML and  Java. They also understand how these languages work and what these codes do. On the other hand, crackers do not have an upper hand here. They do not possess much knowledge about computer programming. Their work and the intent behind it makes them poles apart from each other and is main point of difference between the two.


Thus it is safe to say that hackers break into systems entirely to check for gaps in it and rectify them to update the systems whereas crackers break into the systems with the intention of exploiting them and for personal gains. This is not only unethical but is also an illegal and criminal activity. White Hats are employed by organizations to carry out hacking after being subjected to a legal contract. On the other hand, Black Hats do not succumb to any approval or agreement as they intend to violate the security of any system that they desire. While a cracker encroaches on personal data and information and uses is to his own advantage, the hacker commits the same action to help a company or an individual to ward off attacks from these crackers.

If you are looking for more reasons to be an Ethical Hacker, then this article should help you.

This brings us to the end of this article on Hacking vs Ethical Hacking.

If you wish to learn cybersecurity and build a colorful career in cybersecurity, then check out our Cyber Security Training Course which comes with instructor-led live training and real-life project experience. You can also take a look at our newly launched Comptia CompTIA Security+ Training Course which is a first-of-a-kind official partnership between Edureka & CompTIA Security+. It offers you a chance to earn a global certification that focuses on core cybersecurity skills which are indispensable for security and network administrators. 

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Hacking Vs Ethical Hacking: What Sets Them Apart?