What is a black hat hacker?
A black hat hacker is a person who tries to find computer security vulnerabilities and exploit them for personal financial gain or other malicious causes. This is different from white hat hackers, who are security specialists who use hacking methods to find security flaws that black hat hackers may exploit.
Black hat hackers can cause significant damage to both individual computer users and large organizations by stealing personal financial information, compromising the security of critical systems, or shutting down or altering the functioning of websites and networks.
The term 'Black Hat Hacker' comes from old western films in which the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats.
Black hat hackers can range from teenage amateurs spreading computer viruses to networks of criminals who steal credit card numbers and other financial information. Black hat hacking activities include using keystroke monitors to steal data and launching attacks to disable access to websites. Malicious hackers sometimes use non-computer methods to obtain data, such as obtaining and impersonating to obtain a user password.
Black Hat Hackers have their own conventions, two of which are the more well-known DEFCON and BlackHat. Black Hat Conventions are often attended by security professionals and academics who want to learn from Black Hat hackers. Law enforcement officers also participate in these conventions and sometimes even use them to catch a Black Hat hacker, as happened in 2001 when a Russian programmer was arrested the day after DEFCON for writing software that decoded an Adobe e-book format .