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Red hat hacker

(also hacktivist, vigilante hacker)

Red hat hacker definition

A red hat hacker is a hacker who acts as a digital activist or a vigilante and uses their hacking knowledge to convey a message. Their reasons for hacking might be political, social, religious, or ideological. Red hat hackers can perform a single attack to expose confidential information and make a statement, or they might work with a broader campaign that uses various methods to, for example, advocate freedom of speech. Red hat hackers use the same tools black hat hackers do, including botnets, malware, and vulnerability exploits. They may team up with white hat hackers if their views on an issue align.

Real-life examples of red hat hackers

  • Anonymous is the most well-known hacktivist group in the world and is often mentioned in the news. The group’s most popular hacking attacks were targeted at the Church of Scientology, WikiLeaks, and Vladimir Putin.
  • WikiLeaks is an online non-profit organization that claims to defend freedom of speech by publishing leaked, secret information. It has targeted many governments and political parties throughout the years, including multiple attacks against US government agencies, diplomats, and political leaders.
  • Legion of Doom was created in 1984 and became one of the most influential hacktivism groups in history. The infamous Hacker Manifesto, often recognized as the main inspiration source for many new hackers, was created and published by a member of Legion of Doom..