A white hat hacker will often be someone who is working for a company to find exploits and security issues with the companies system. Any security issues will be passed on by the hacker to the person responsible for managing the system. A white hat hacker can also be someone who is hacking just for fun and a challenge without causing any damage or doing any malicious acts. They may even contact the person they have hacked to tell them about these security issues they have found.
A black hat hacker is almost definatly a person who is hacking with further intent of criminal acts. They will deface websites, steal data and perform many other malicious activities involving the data and information they have received via hacking.
A grey hat hacker is generally someone who performs a bit of both. They ofter do not perform extremely bad acts and may just deface a website rather than steal data and information such as credit card details, etc.
The motive behind hacking can often be more mischievous than sinister. For example: Someone may hack just to prove that they can.
Someone: "This is the most secure system we have to date, hard for any hacker to hack."
Hacker: "I'm sure i can find something wrong with it."
Someone: "Theres no chance."
Hacker: "Okay, i'll proove it."
Hacker: *Goes of and hacks the system*
Hacker: "Told you it is probably possible."
Someone: "What security issue did you manage to find?"
Hacker: "Well this is what i found..."
White-hat (hacking for the enjoyment of exploration)
Black-hat (hacking to find exploits and system weaknesses, see cracker)
and Grey-hat (someone who is a little of both)
Hackers are self-motivated, and learn through experimentation and persistence, as opposed to through "traditional" means.
Computer hackers do not completely fit this definition. Due to the high artificiality of computer technology itself, computer hackers must be highly knowledgable before they can implement their first successful "hack." For them, "hacks" are the product of brilliant insight and thorough investigation, rather than the talent and natural law that go with hacking in more humanity-driven fields, such as entertainment or sports.
Chess masters have a similar level of mental discpline, although many hackers tend to lack the attention span necessary to be good at chess :')
Many people would tend to disagree, but then again many people are not skillful enough to be called a "hacker."
Hackers are not limited to computer hacking.
Commentary: The movies "Tron" (1982) and "War Games" (1983) significantly influenced the common use of "hacker" (by non-hackers) in reference to computer hackers. The widespread use of the Internet beginning around 1993 made millions of unwitting parents concerned that their adolescent child was turning into a hacker. Some of the twit kids even believed it themselves. Please see reference to "lacker" for a more appropriate name for these individuals.
Of the 80s/90s version, there were three primary denominations:
The casual Hacker-hacks to learn information for his own curiosity.
The White Hat Hacker-hunts down and destroys malicious code.
The Black Hat Hacker-designs and releases malicious code;gathers dangerous information;brings down sensative systems.
"The hackers have managed to find their way into the system."
"The hackers are getting on my nerves."
2. (Modern Defination) A hacker is also one who is skilled in the art of obtaining access to a computer to which is defened by a security program.
3. (Modern Defination) A hacker can also be considered someone who uses of an assistive device in some online games. See: wall hacks aimbot myg0t cheaters
2. Damn hackers, wiped out the database.
3. "Damn OGC Newb. Get some skill."