What is Gray Hat Hacking?

A Gray Hat programmer is a programmer who may violate moral conventions or standards, but not with the malicious intent associated with dark cap programmers. Gray Hat programmers may participate in practices that appear to be less than completely above board, yet they are typically working for the greater good.

  • Gray hat programmers bridge the gap between white cap programmers, who try to ensure that safe frameworks are maintained, and dark cap programmers, who act vindictively to exploit flaws in frameworks.

  • Gray hat hackers are between white and black hat hackers. Gray hat hackers use a combination of black hat and white hat tactics. Gray hat hackers frequently probe a system for flaws without the owner's consent or knowledge. If problems are discovered, they notify the owner, sometimes seeking a nominal charge to resolve the issue.

Some gray hat hackers prefer to think that by hacking companies' websites and infiltrating their networks without authorization, they are doing something helpful for them. Nonetheless, illegal intrusions into a company's digital infrastructure are rarely welcomed. Many people are concerned that gray hat hackers would flip to the dark side since they can do something criminal. While gray hat hackers who uncover vulnerabilities notify impacted firms, they are frequently disregarded or even denounced to the authorities.

Black hat activities are rather widespread, according to a poll of more than 900 security experts from around the world. Almost half of those polled were aware that some of their coworkers are gray hat or black hat hackers. The bulk of them feels that the large payoff that black hat hackers receive is the reason for their abandonment of the gray hat hacker cause.

How Does Gray Hat Hacking Work?

A gray hat hacker may suggest to the system administrator that they or one of their accomplices be hired to address the problem for a fee after gaining unauthorized access to a system or network. This practice has been on the wane as businesses have been more willing to prosecute. However, as corporations have been more inclined to prosecute, this practice has been on the decline.

Bug bounty schemes are used by certain corporations to incentivize gray hat hackers to submit their findings. In these situations, corporations offer a reward to reduce the danger of the hacker exploiting the vulnerability for personal benefit.

Gray hat hackers may turn black hats by disclosing the point of exploitation on the Internet or even abusing the vulnerability themselves if corporations do not respond quickly or cooperate.

Why is Gray Hat Hacking Useful?

Dark cap hacking is illegal, regardless of the purpose, as we've effectively said. Attempting to break an organization's protection from the law if there isn't authorization from the goal to find flaws. As a result, a gray hat programmer should expect to be refused by exposing an organization's weakness.

However, some firms use their bug bounty programs to encourage dark cap programmers to disclose their discoveries and will provide the bounty to avoid the greater risk of the programmer exploiting the flaw for their own gain. However, because this is a rare occurrence, obtaining the organization's permission is the best approach to assure that a coder stays within the law.

Despite the concerns, gray hats' abilities cannot be underestimated in such a skill-short market. The lack of network protection capabilities is very visible, exposing enterprises to dark hat actions. According to McAfee's 'Hacking the Skills Shortage,' 82 percent of respondents were impacted by a network security shortage, while research by Indeed revealed that digital security job openings had increased by over a third in two years, resulting in a 5 percent skills gap in the UK.

Network security ventures estimate that global spending on Internet Security will exceed $1 trillion over the next five years, with 1.5 million job openings by 2019.

Example of Gray Hat Hacking

Following are some of the famous examples of Gray Hat Hacking −

Routers from ASUS

In 2014, a gray hat hacker gained access to hundreds of ASUS routers to warn consumers that if they didn't fix the vulnerability he uncovered, their files might be exposed.

Routers that run on Linux

In 2015, the "White Team," a group of gray hat hackers, discovered a security flaw in certain Linux router models. To address the vulnerability, the gang published malware that would allow affected individuals to close the security hole.

Printers on the Internet

In 2017, a gray hat hacker took control of over 150,000 printers remotely to educate people about the dangers of keeping Internet printers exposed.