Hacktivists are ideological hackers, they use hacking of computer networks to promote political ideas, freedom of speech, protection of human rights and freedom of information. As a rule, it is this type of hackers, shrouded in a romantic flair of power over technology and opposition to the system, that we see in films, TV series and news.
Geeks are engaged in hacking to assert themselves, or out of sporting interest.
Their moral compass is often also knocked down, but unlike the bad guys, they are not interested in money as such. It is much more important for them to show their intellectual superiority to the whole world.
As a rule, hackers, like most IT specialists, have a fairly narrow specialization. Here are the main categories into which hackers are divided by their occupation:
Network hacker — specializes in obtaining unauthorized access to computer networks and network servers, or disabling them.
Cracker is engaged in hacking application software in order to unlock full functionality and get a full commercial version. It can also develop hacking software, the so-called keygens.
Phreaker — explores telephone networks in order to find an opportunity to call for free. Historically, phreaking is the very first type of hacking activity that arose in the 60—70s of the XX century. In recent years, phreakers have also begun to study networks for mobile phones.
Carder — is engaged in illegal obtaining of credit card numbers and information about their owners. Often this activity is combined with hacking. Carding is considered the most serious crime, and therefore is the most dangerous type of hacking activity.
Phishers — collect user data, including bank card data entered on the forms of fake websites and in fake applications (a type of card-taking). Then they sell this data further (for example, by carder).
Virus writers are programmers who write software viruses. In general, this type of activity cannot be attributed to hacking. However, often such programmers have to study or identify software vulnerabilities (for example, when writing mail viruses for programs like Outlook), which can already be attributed to hacking.