Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. We are probably just arguing over semantics, which happens a lot when terms like hacker, etc. are used. If by what you term as the underground is specifically those that are finding ways to exploit and crack systems and if by ethical hacker you are using the Ec-council standard. Well, I would have to agree with your statement completely. Of course writing exploits and tools requires more skill than to use them, although I have seen some brilliant things done with tools in the hands of extremely talented and seasoned professionals. In those few instances I might say it took less skill to make the paint brush than for the artist Rembrandt to paint his masterpiece. Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but those of you that have seen some really clever people at work know what I mean.
My interpretation of the term underground is all inclusive and I include the term “black hat.” I include those that are writing exploits so they can crack systems to the small underground hacking groups that might consists of teenage script kiddies. I see the Ethical Hacker as an all inclusive term also and I go way beyond the narrow confines of what the EC-Council certifies. Everyone that is involved in discovering exploits to pentesting in order to secure networks from malicious attacks is a “white hat” or ethical hacker. I see hacking as “thinking outside the box” whether for good or bad. I like this more inclusive approach because its puts everyone working in security on the same team so to speak. Also, if you view it this way, this Ethical community is very formidable. I believe it’s important for the business world to not take the underground for granted, but also believe they can feel reasonably secure if they place their networks in the hands of high level security professionals.
So in reality we are than likely just interpreting terms differently.