What Is a Black Hat Hacker?
A black hat hacker is an individual who uses malware and other malicious techniques to gain unauthorized access to computer networks and systems for personal or financial gain.
These hackers range from inexperienced individuals to highly skilled experts whose main objective is to steal sensitive data, such as login credentials, financial information, and personal data.
Once they gain access, black hat hackers can manipulate, steal, or delete system data based on their motivations.
Types of Hacking
Hacking encompasses various forms, each focusing on different aspects and employing different tactics.
Hackers may target financial theft, gain access to classified government information for espionage purposes, showcase their hacking skills, or engage in politically-driven hacktivist activities, as seen with organizations like Anonymous and WikiLeaks.
Types of Hacking
- Keylogging: Keylogging is a popular method hackers use to spy on computer users. It involves using software that secretly captures keystrokes, and storing them in a log file. This allows hackers to gather personal information such as passwords and IDs.
- Phishing: Phishing attacks mimic legitimate websites to trick users into providing their data. Hackers create fake websites and send phishing emails to deceive users into revealing sensitive information.
- Brute Force: Brute force attacks involve using computational algorithms to systematically test all possible password combinations. This method is time-consuming and can take millions of years to crack a strong password.
- Ransomware: Ransomware attacks encrypt a user’s files, rendering them inaccessible. Hackers then demand a ransom payment for the decryption key needed to regain access to the files.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm a website or online service by flooding it with an excessive amount of traffic, causing it to become inaccessible to legitimate users. These attacks often target large corporations and can disrupt their online operations.
Difference Between White Hat Hackers and Black Hat Hackers
Now that you understand what a black hat hacker is let’s discuss the counterparts known as white hat hackers.
While they share some similarities, their motivations and methods differ.
The terms “white hat” and “black hat” originate from spaghetti westerns, where the color of a character’s hat symbolized their alignment.
White hats represent the good guys, while black hats represent the villains.
In the hacking context, these terms describe hackers’ ethical and criminal nature.
- Black hat hacker, as depicted in media, breaches systems, steals data, modifies information, and compromises security. They engage in hacking for financial gain, political motives, or purely for the thrill of it. Their attacks can range from spreading basic malware to conducting large-scale data theft.
- White hat hackers, also known as ethical hackers, are hired to help secure sensitive data and systems from black hat hackers. Governments and organizations often employ them to conduct penetration testing, simulating attacks to identify vulnerabilities and improve system security. White hat hackers are crucial in preventing online fraud and enhancing overall cybersecurity.