6 Hacker Hat Colours Explained

December 17, 2021

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Hacking and hackers are probably the number one concern for modern businesses and cybersecurity professionals today. This is because successful black hat hackers can cause widespread damage to business operations, profits and reputation.

However, despite the fact that everyone seems to be concerned about hackers, hacking as a category is widely misunderstood. Not all hackers are bad and different hat colours denote different types of hackers which are important to understand for anyone interested in truly comprehending cyber crime and building long term cyber resilience. 

Just as characters in old western movies wore different-coloured hats to reflect their alignment, there are different hacker hat colours that denote different categories of hackers. In this blog, we explain the six different hacker hat colours and how they impact cybersecurity.

1. White Hat Hackers
White hat hackers actually use their skills for good. Also, called ethical hackers or penetration testers, these are cybersecurity professionals who look for vulnerabilities in businesses’ IT systems. They then recommend possible improvements to help keep businesses safe from black hat hackers or the real cyber criminals as we know them.

White hat hackers and penetration testers can reveal crucial cybersecurity flaws in business infrastructure. For example, one recent ethical hacking project found that 65% of tested organizations didn’t use multifactor authentication. Without these tests, companies may have glaring vulnerabilities they don’t know about, exposing themselves to expensive ransomware attacks and other cyber threats.

2. Black Hat Hackers
Black hat hackers are the most familiar type of cyber criminals that we all know of. These are cybercriminals that maliciously attack users or organisations for personal gain. More often than not, their actions are financially motivated, like stealing data to resell on the dark web or using ransomware to demand payment.

While many of these hackers are skilled, simple attacks often prove effective enough to cause considerable damage. For example, one stolen password compromised more than 60 million Dropbox accounts at the hands of a black hat hacker. Even in the case of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, it appears that a leaked password was all that was required to disrupt gas supplies in the world’s largest economy.

To protect your business from such malicious attacks by black hat hackers, you can prepare yourself to prevent ransomware attacks by downloading our Ransomware Checklist. If you end up being hit by ransomware, you can use our Ransomware Response Workflow and our Ransomware Response Checklist to take the right steps and mitigate the impact of attack as far as possible. 

3. Gray Hat Hackers
As one might expect, gray hat hackers don’t fall neatly into either “good” or “bad” categories. They may not have malicious intent like black hat hackers but may still engage in illegal practices, unlike white hats. Many of them simply enjoy hacking as a hobby and try to find new exploits and vulnerabilities for fun.

Some gray hat hackers act like white hats but through illegal or illicit methods. One such incident occurred in 2013 when a web developer hacked into Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page to demonstrate a bug in the platform’s infrastructure. The intent wasn’t exactly malicious but the end result can be seen as incorrect.

4. Red Hat Hackers
Red hat hackers are similar to gray hats in that they fall somewhere between white and black hats. These actors are vigilantes, taking cybersecurity into their own hands by seeking and attacking black hats.

Instead of stopping black hat hackers and turning them in to the authorities, they launch cyberattacks against them. They may use viruses, DDoS attacks or other methods to compromise and even destroy hackers’ resources. Some people debate whether these internet vigilantes really exist or are merely a romanticized ideal since there’s little evidence of their actions.

5. Blue Hat Hackers
The term “blue hat hackers” has two different meanings, depending on the source. In some circles, these are penetration testers that work outside the company. Microsoft hosts a blue hat conference to improve cybersecurity training and encourage continuous learning on hacking techniques.

The other definition refers to hackers who act only out of revenge. These are typically less-skilled attackers who have only learned hacking methods to take out a specific target. They may attack only once but could cause significant damage since they’re not interested in monetary gains.

6. Green Hat Hackers
Like blue hat hackers, green hats are new to the practice. Unlike the blue hats, though, they have a desire to grow and become expert hackers. These are fledgling black hats, seeking vulnerable targets to hone their skills on and eventually evolve into more dangerous threats.

While green hat hackers lack the skills of more experienced cybercriminals, they can still be concerning. As the Dropbox hack shows, it doesn’t always take high-level techniques to cause damage. These attackers may also target small businesses with less advanced security that may not be able to recover.

Why should you know the different types of hackers?
Hacking is a wide and very diverse field, contrary to what many people may think about it.

It is important for cybersecurity professionals and security-focussed businesses to understand the different types of hackers and even hacker hat colors. This is simply because knowing your enemy, their tactics and techniques, their motivations and their skill level is critical to keeping your business safe.

Only once you understand some basic hacking techniques and methods can you gauge the opportunities hackers may be after with respect to your specific business.

You can prepare for a potential hacking incident in your own organisation with a Cyber Tabletop Exercise. An external, experienced facilitator can play a crucial role in helping your business executives understand the different types of hacking techniques and what a hacker may be after in your business.

The exercise involves building a cybersecurity scenario-based simulation which can help team members understand where your business stands with respect to possible cyber attacks and hacks. Only once you’re aware of your weaknesses and the loopholes in your incident response plans and strategies can you work towards building a strong, cyber-resilient organisation over the longer term.


SonicWall Inc

SonicWALL Solutions is South Africa's most competitive SonicWALL solutions provider. We offer services from pre-sales consultation and solution development, to every day support, sales and disaster recovery. We have over 10 years International experience in Enterprise level Internet based Solutions and networking, as well as extensive experience with SonicWALL products from live Data Centre environments to home networking security. With this experience as a foundation and a focused business model we have been able to offer excellent pricing as well as a extremely high quality service level.


Effective Cybersecurity Marketing Strategy to Standout from the Crowd

Article | November 9, 2021

Cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated and advanced as the rise in connectivity brought an increase in security gaps. Better connectivity also has led attackers make to create advanced tools making their attacks more sophisticated. This certainly makes businesses invest more in information security to bridge the gaps. However, most businesses and organizations do not realize the need for it. This is due to the absence of threat awareness among the customers. A major challenge that cybersecurity service providers face is around cybersecurity marketing. Another challenge they face is competition. Businesses do not prioritize cybersecurity as an essential aspect, so marketing security solutions become even more challenging. However, the cybersecurity product market has grown over the years, especially during this pandemic period. Although the market is growing, it needs a sound cybersecurity marketing strategy to reach actual prospects. The strategy should also aim to educate the prospects on its need, as many do not realize its necessity today. Let us look into some of the tips for making a sound cybersecurity marketing strategy. Cybersecurity Marketing Strategy Especially during this period of the pandemic, cybersecurity solutions and services are facing much competition. Thus, you should have a properly and professionally designed cybersecurity marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd and reach out to top prospects. As remote workplaces are necessary during this pandemic period, security breaches are also happening like ever before. This has made companies and individuals look for solid cybersecurity solutions and services. However, as the competition is high, your success in reaching out to these companies in time depends upon the unique cybersecurity marketingstrategy you set up. Below are some tips to make your cybersecurity marketing strategy appealing and robust enough to attract more clients. Know your Audience Regarding cybersecurity marketing, understanding your audience is crucial. It is considered the first step towards creating a compelling marketing strategy. Creating marketing personas will make you understand your audience better. Personas give you a picture of your ideal customer, which is fictional. This will also give you practical insights towards which strategy and channels to be used while communicating with them. Even creating a persona of your ideal customer will provide insights about how to communicate with them. You also have to decide whom do you address in a particular company. Based on the roles, CTO, CEO, CISO, risk managers, CFO, you can make different personas. This is because all of these professionals in companies may be facing different challenges in their pace of work. Understanding them thoroughly will surely help you make a compelling cybersecurity marketing strategy. According to Matthew Fisch, a cybersecurity consultant, and SVP sales at Magnetude Consulting, “I’d follow up after in-person interactions with key executives by giving them my GDPR white paper, which they found very useful. Now they know me and trust that I know their pain points on this subject. That makes it a lot easier to let them know what my company does and how our products can help them.” Push them down the Funnel with E-mail Marketing For cybersecurity solution selling, awareness and knowledge are natural obstacles. This can make a potential lead take a good amount of time to make a decision, even demand a demo or meet a sales representative of your company. Therefore, your cybersecurity marketing strategy can make a difference by engaging them with your brand and taking them down to the sales funnel. The best way to do it is through e-mail marketing. Your email message should be personalized. However, the e-mails you send to your prospects should be attractive, informative, and educational. If they do not find your e-mails worthwhile, they may likely delete your emails and block you as they may have a lot of emails in their inbox every day. Therefore, you should be having a creative mind and a good idea of the types of content that can be sent via email to your prospect. Case studies, reports, and e-books are ideal content types that can educate people about present cybersecurity issues and its need today. Apart from these content forms, you can also focus on sending videos, which would educate them about the importance of cybersecurity. Whatever content yousend to your prospects as part of your cybersecurity marketing strategy, do not forget to link to your blog posts about recent attacks and the latest updates in the industry. You can also include attractive offers in your e-mail, such as free trials that quickly make the prospect sign up. Urge them to Make it a Priority As mentioned in the introduction, most customers do not find or are not aware of the urgency of cybersecurity. Thus, as a cybersecurity product and service provider, you should make the effort of creating a sense of emergency among your prospects as part of your cybersecurity marketing strategy. Furthermore, you should take it as a challenge to convince them to take it as a priority in this modern technology-driven world. There can be many reasons why they do not prioritize cybersecurity in their business process. First, it may be because they are giving importance to their core work. In addition, it can be due to complacency, or maybe they are not aware of the threat. Finally, the expense can be another reason that they do not prioritize cybersecurity. However, you have to focus on making your messaging right to them. Instead of scaring them with threatening messages, focus on educating them with ample examples from real life. Summing up The biggest challenge to cybersecurity marketing is that most prospects are not aware of the necessity of cybersecurity. This is because they are ignorant of the threat businesses are facing. Thus, the first step is to educate them about the urgency of it. Therefore, your cybersecurity marketing strategy should start with this first step. Apart from this, personalized messages to the decision-makers will help you go forward with your strategy. Sending messages to them continuously will educate them about its need and can push them down the sales funnel successfully. Frequently Asked Questions What is the prominent challenge cybersecurity marketers face today? There are a lot of challenges cybersecurity marketers face today. One of the main challenges is that most clients are not aware of the threat they will face in their business process online. Thus, educating them with the need and urgency of it is a significant challenge for marketers. What are some of the tactics cybersecurity marketers use? Cybersecurity marketers need an effective cybersecurity marketing strategy. Email marketing, webinars, content marketing, and paid campaigns can be included as effective tactics in the strategy. { "@context": "", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the prominent challenge cybersecurity marketers face today?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "There are a lot of challenges cybersecurity marketers face today. One of the main challenges is that most clients are not aware of the threat they will face in their business process online. Thus, educating them with the need and urgency of it is a significant challenge for marketers." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are some of the tactics cybersecurity marketers use?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Cybersecurity marketers need an effective cybersecurity marketing strategy. 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Stopping Your Smartphone from Being a Cybersecurity Risk

Article | November 2, 2021

Let’s face it - most of our digital lives are on our phones, putting ourselves at a great deal of risk when it comes to cybersecurity. You would think that this would lead us to better phone safety habits, but this is not always the case. Many people, in a rush to get the latest new smartphone, might set themselves at risk leaving themselves open to cybersecurity threats with information left on their old phone. Don’t worry, there is hope - welcome to the phone repair economy. Let’s break it down by the numbers: in 2021, Americans are expected to spend $4 billion on phone repairs. That number seems like a lot until you consider that $59 billion will be spent on new phones. Despite the wide disparity, phone repairs are steadily increasing in popularity. A growing number of Americans are willing to get their phone fixed after it suffers small aesthetic damage. Moreover, Americans are slowing down in the purchase of new smartphones. In 2016, Americans upgraded their phones after 23 months of holding. In 2019, they waited 33 months to upgrade. High prices are delaying new purchases while changes in carrier contracts have made 2-year upgrade cycles a thing of the past. Because Americans are keeping their phones longer, they’re more likely to see their phone break in its lifetime. Phone damage is common. In the US, 2 smartphone screens are cracked every second. 72% of people have broken a smartphone before, and those who have previously broken a phone are twice as likely to do it again. But instead of rushing to replace a broken device, consider fixing it instead. Consumers typically spend less on repairs than they would on a replacement. They can keep all their files, settings, and habits without having to adjust to a new device. Important to the planet, extending a phone’s lifespan can reduce emissions and e-waste while saving energy and resources. Sustainability relies on consumers holding their products for longer amounts of time than they do currently. Other ways to extend a phone’s lifespan is to protect it from needing repairs in the first place. Use a shock absorbent phone case to protect the phone from drop damage. Slap on a screen protector to avoid the most common type of phone damage from impacting your device. Phone repairs have the chance to benefit all users. Stay safe from cybersecurity threats and keep your old smartphone running in optimal condition.

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Healthcare Sector Suffers From Increasing Number of Cybersecurity Attacks

Article | November 1, 2021

The rapid acceleration of digital adoption in healthcare has largely improved patient access amid the pandemic. In 2020 alone, over one billion consultations were predicted in lieu of physical physician visits. This prediction turned out to be accurate. Unfortunately, this wide scale telehealth rollout has also created a virtual playground for cybercriminals looking to exploit the deluge of sensitive information online. In fact, since 2020, cyber-attacks on the healthcare industry have risen by 55%. How the Coronavirus Paved the Way for Cybercrime The events of 2020 created the perfect storm for cybercriminals. While reports from as early as 2017 stated that the American healthcare system was significantly vulnerable, very little was done to safeguard its policies and operations. Despite recommendations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies, studies show that only 4% to 7% of the average health institution’s IT budget was allocated for cybersecurity. This lackluster investment in improving online safety was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to massive shifts in the industry, cybersecurity’s already modest budget was stretched even further to make up for cash flow adjustments and the sudden adoption of telehealth services. Today, with the Delta variant pressuring the U.S. healthcare industry, IT professionals have been tracking continued surges in cybercrime attacks. At the national level, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reported noticeable activity spikes in their servers. Unnamed sources have attributed this to hackers trying to use the floods of traffic to slow online operations. Meanwhile, more regional attacks have come in the form of phishing or ransomware. Over 70% of all malware attacks in 2020 were even credited to the latter. This act not only compromises confidential patient information but also halts the hospital’s access to its digital systems. This causes significant complications in the execution of essential tasks, like non-emergency surgeries and emergency room (ER) operations. As of October 2020, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have released statements warning that they believe that cybercrime will continue to become more dangerous and prolific as the pandemic surges. How the Healthcare Sector Can Combat Cyber threats Among all other industries, healthcare is the one that reports the biggest losses, the most breaches, the longest breach identification time, and the most prolonged breach recovery period. Given this, many health and cybersecurity stakeholders have already begun rolling out protective measures and suggestions. Again, at a national level, cybersecurity analysts suggest that the HIPAA be updated. Being a 25-year-old law, it has glaring gaps in the standards and safeguards it mandates upon hospitals and third-party cyber service providers. This means that, at the moment, healthcare institutions and IT vendors have no vetted guidelines to aid them as they adjust to contemporary demands. But, of course, the responsibility to better their cybersecurity also falls on the service users themselves. Aside from having IT team members who specialize in internal processes and improving user experience for patients, hospitals are also encouraged to onboard cybersecurity professionals. As a matter of fact, the forecast demand for these experts is expected to jump by 31% in the next decade, in accordance with the rise of cybercrime threats. Given this, and the current gap in cybersecurity talent, educational institutions are now offering online cybersecurity degrees. In line with the spread of telehealth adoption, these online degrees open up the field to a much wider array of potential talent. They also offer concentrations on mobile device hacking and forensics—both of which are timely skills in creating a defensive cybersecurity strategy. Since cybercriminals are also targeting the data sent from patients, many security leaders suggest offering telehealth user training. In these short and digestible sessions, patients (and even non-IT hospital staff members) can be taught the basics of cybercrime safety. These include avoiding downloadable malware, using powerful passwords, and discerning which network connections are trustworthy. This effort can significantly reduce the chances of a breach since 95% of these vulnerabilities are caused by errors on the part of the service user. All in all, the necessary changes to combat cybercrime are estimated to be worth over $125 billion by 2025. While it may be a costly process on the surface, it is a necessary—and long overdue—expenditure. Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated daily, and by taking our time to scale up, we’ve let a hacking epidemic ride on the coattails of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cryptography in the Limelight: Six Trends

Article | October 27, 2021

While not flashy, cryptographic processing is foundational and critical for data confidentiality, integrity, and authentication. Cryptography is what powers the world’s transactions, so it must be highly available, fast, and scalable — and, most importantly, secure. For Futurex, cryptography is in the limelight every day. As a global company, we have a presence in many of the largest banks, retailers, IoT device manufacturers, and corporations. Let me shed some light on what trends we are seeing: 1. Data encryption delivered via a service-oriented architecture:Organizations have ever-increasing volumes of applications and services that require strong cryptography with HSM-backed data encryption and key management. Managing complex cryptographic environments can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive — and if not deployed or managed correctly, can introduce significant data security risks. Therefore, organizations are looking at other options and looking to experts. We’re having regular conversations with customers about how data encryption can be delivered from a service-oriented architecture standpoint. The industry is reaching a new level of maturity and is adopting cryptography and key management as a native component of its environments. 2. Cloud-based data security hardware security modules (HSMs):Enterprises and financial services organizations are increasing their adoption of cloud-based data security infrastructure. With new developments in cloud adoption, regulatory compliance, and greater data residency capabilities — and HSMs in the cloud, the infrastructure is in place. And it’s been tested. We pioneered cloud-based HSMs back in 2015, with the VirtuCrypt Hardened Enterprise Security Cloud. 3. HSM flexibility:Organizations are looking at robust solutions that meet the highest level of encryption, but that are flexible to fit the needs of their use cases, organizational infrastructure, expertise, and budget. These days, organizations have different options with HSMs: on-premises, cloud, and hybrid. A quick overview: an HSM’s core functionality is centered around encryption: the process by which sensitive data is rendered indecipherable to all except authorized recipients. Encryption is made possible using encryption keys. Because knowledge of the encryption key aids in decrypting information, it is vital that these keys are secured in a private environment. Image Source: Futurex Hardware Security Module considerations 4. Next level remote key loading: encrypted key loading. Remote key loading is not new, it’s been around for more than a decade. Remote key loading enables users — point-of-sale terminal deployers, banks, encryption services organizations (ESOs), major retailers — to remotely inject encryption keys anytime wherever they are deployed, saving time, cost, and hassle. With the growth of mobile-based terminals, remote key loading has become a necessity, ensuring that the utmost security and compliance requirements are met. 5. Contactless payments with CPoC:Contactless payments eliminate the need for card reading hardware and provide a high level of security. CPoC is a PCI SSC compliance standard that stands for Contactless Payments on COTS, or commercial off-the-shelf. This standard is helping to accelerate adoption of SoftPOS contactless payments for individuals and small businesses, while giving large retailers news ways of improving the customer payment experience. It is also expected to be widely adopted in developing economies. Contactless payments extend the point of sale beyond the checkout counter using near-field communication (NFC) chips embedded in smartphones and tablets available off the shelf. CPoC-based applications, with their transaction processing functionality and high level of security, make them advantageous for all merchants who need payment agility and scalability. 6. Future-proofing for quantum computing:OK, this is not yet a trend, but it needs to be! The rise of quantum computers is on the horizon, and this inevitable threat stands to break public key cryptography as we know it. Once quantum computers become more widespread, they will be capable of breaking common cryptographic methods used today, such as RSA, ECC, or Diffie-Hellman, simply because of how quickly they can calculate solutions. This is concerning for every organization whose security depends on public key cryptography and particularly serious for long-lifespan Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as satellites, automobiles, and critical infrastructure components that rely on cryptography for code signing. Are organization prepared for the post-quantum shift? Not yet. Enterprise-level code signing is the best way to ensure your organization’s cryptographic infrastructure remains secure now with the rise of quantum computing. If every industry — banking, groceries, satellites, automobiles — relies on cryptography for data protection, transmission, and transactions, isn’t it time to take a closer look at your cryptographic infrastructure?

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SonicWall Inc

SonicWALL Solutions is South Africa's most competitive SonicWALL solutions provider. We offer services from pre-sales consultation and solution development, to every day support, sales and disaster recovery. We have over 10 years International experience in Enterprise level Internet based Solutions and networking, as well as extensive experience with SonicWALL products from live Data Centre environments to home networking security. With this experience as a foundation and a focused business model we have been able to offer excellent pricing as well as a extremely high quality service level.