Feb 24, 2015

Is it as risky from a legal standpoint to be a white hat hacker as it is to be a black hat?

There are a few notable white hat hackers that have faced serious legal difficulties as a result of their actions. The late Aaron Swartz immediately comes to mind. However, it’s hard to think of a black hat hacker that was responsible for major security breaches like those at Target, Home Depot, and Anthem who was caught and punished. Is it a greater legal risk to be a white hat that exposes security holes so that they can be patched that it is to be the black hat that exploits those holes?
It could be as risky if the hacking isn't authorized by the target of the hack. Laws differ from place to place so you'd need to find out what the local laws are regarding hacking.

Wikipedia has a good overview article of white hat hacking:


"The term "white hat" in Internet slang refers to an ethical computer hacker, or a computer security expert, who specializes in penetration testing and in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization's information systems.[1] Ethical hacking is a term coined by IBM meant to imply a broader category than just penetration testing.[2] White-hat hackers may also work in teams called "sneakers",[3] red teams, or tiger teams,[4]WhiteHat Adda.[5]"
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