Black hat is used to describe a hacker (or, if you prefer, cracker) who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent. Unlike a white hat hacker, the black hat hacker takes advantage of the break-in, perhaps destroying files or stealing data for some future purpose. The black hat hacker may also make the exploit known to other hackers and/or the public without notifying the victim. This gives others the opportunity to exploit the vulnerability before the organization is able to secure it.
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The term comes from old Western movies, where heros often wore white hats and the "bad guys" wore black hats.
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- The SANS Institute offers "Which hat is DilDog wearing?", an analysis of one hacker to determine whether they are wearing a white hat or a black hat.