gray hat (or grey hat)

Gray hat describes a cracker (or, if you prefer, hacker) who exploits a security weakness in a computer system or product in order to bring the weakness to the attention of the owners.

Gray hat describes a cracker (or, if you prefer, hacker) who exploits a security weakness in a computer system or product in order to bring the weakness to the attention of the owners. Unlike a black hat, a gray hat acts without malicious intent. The goal of a gray hat is to improve system and network security. However, by publicizing a vulnerability, the gray hat may give other crackers the opportunity to exploit it. This differs from the white hat who alerts system owners and vendors of a vulnerability without actually exploiting it in public.

This was first published in June 2007

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