The White Hat Hacker is the nemesis of the Black Hat Hacker.
Where the Black Hat tries to exploit smart contracts and/or computer systems for illegal gains, the White Hat has nobler goals:
- They see it as a sport and want to show the vulnerabilities in the systems they hack. They normally will inform the owners of those systems, so that the exploits can be patched.
- They are Bug Bounty hunters. Many DeFi and other tech protocols and companies have started offering Bug Bounties. Once those bug bounties are large enough (in DeFi 1 million USD is quite normal for a “Critical” hack), then the temptation for a White Hat Hacker to turn Black Hat is much smaller.
Even though exploits might offer a much higher payout, many White Hat Hackers choose a legal, lower payout over an illegal higher one.
Some people have been specializing in exactly this, and auditors are basically a contracted bunch of White Hat Hackers.
Famous White Hats (like @samscsun) are so well-known that they get contacted first whenever a protocol finds a bug themselves and need help to fix it before it becomes an exploit.
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