Black Hat Hackers – Trying to Hack into their Mindset

Black hat hackers: Most people think that hackers are criminals. It is a common fact that most people don’t know that a broad category of hackers helps us differentiate them from each other based on their objectives and ethics. Some hackers breach computer systems to identify vulnerabilities and enhance defensive capabilities, while others do it for criminal gain or as part of cyber attack operations. If a person hears the word hacking spontaneously, the mind will connect this word with an ugly meaning to it, a cybercrime that maliciously hurts people.

Colors categorize these types of hackers, and the main categorization is based on these three primary colors: white, grey, and black. This article will discuss black hat hackers, trying to break down the whole black hat hacker mindset.

Black Hats Hackers- Who are they?

Black hat hackers are the image of what is portrayed online by the news, the people with a criminal mindset who are searching for information to steal or destroy it. They cause significant intentional damage and profit at the expense of their targets. These hackers are responsible for directing attack trends and inversely stimulating work demands in the white-hat market through harmful, illegal online activities. These people can be cybercriminals, cyber spies, cyber terrorists, and hacktivists. Black hat hackers use phishing, malware, or other attacks to steal data or penetrate systems with malicious intent.

What motivates these people are goals or objectives attractive enough to make a hacker interested in pursuing malicious actions like money, bragging rights, revenge, media attention, advancement of their beliefs, the pursuit of valuable data, and even pure amusement. These hackers are on the other side of the law, and since they know the serious legal consequences, they would do everything to remain anonymous, hidden in their shadows. To perform the malicious attacks, the study suggests that black hats use penetration testing methods with tools often used by white hat hackers to test different information systems. They are even developing their own tools to continue with the malicious exploitation.

black hat hackers

Social Platforms

One interesting thing regarding the black hats is that they are seen as a global community, often hidden in the shadows of the internet, but also exposed to the seeing eye of the public. Some black hats like to remain anonymous and continue communication cryptically. At the same time, others are attracted to the public’s attention and like to publicly broadcast their exploits, embarrassing their targets and exposing poor security practices. In various social platforms or forums, you can encounter black hats communicating with each other, where they share knowledge, exploits, malware information, tutorials, and tools. It is also common for black hat hackers to sell their skills, offering to attack any specified target in exchange for a fee. Usually, shady businesses like these are done in underground mediums, such as the dark web, where a person’s anonymity remains untouched.

Most famous Black Hat Attacks worldwide – Top picks

There are a lot of cases where hackers join forces together in creating a black hat attacker group to target a specific entity for malicious porpoises. Here are some of our top picks of the most famous black hat attacks that have happened worldwide, which left a mark in cyber defense history.

  1. Nasa Cyber Attack (1999). The infamous James Jonathan, one of the youngest black hats to enter history, at the age of 15 years, managed to hack and shut down the Nasa System for 21 days, which cost Nasa 41,000$ damage.
  2. WannaCry Ransomware (2017). One of the biggest ransomware of all time, with around 200,000 computers affected in more than 150 countries. This outbreak had a massive impact across several industries and had a global cost of about 6B pounds.
  3. Cyber Attack on Marriott Hotels (2018). This attack had been occurring for years and was noticed only in 2018. The attacker continued to have access for many years to guests’ personal information. Almost 39 million guests have compromised their data, and Marriot hotel was fined 18.4 million pounds.
  4. RockYou2021 -the most significant password leak to date. A forum user posted a massive 100GB txt file that contained 8.4 billion entries of passwords, which have presumably been combined from previous data leaks and breaches.
black hat hackers
Hacker out of cuirosity

Their Evil Villain Origin Story – What to be expected from the future

While seeing and hearing facts about an antagonist character, one thing that crosses the mind is why they would do the actions they do. Are we facing highly evil people that want to cause harm for their benefit or just for fun? Or are we seeing the creation of evil villains from the society where we live in? It is a fact that these people have credible intelligence and expertise in the cyber security field. And there have been cases where black hats have collaborated with the government to find specific solutions to cyber issues.

But at the same time, the black hats follow illegal paths to reach their goals, whether for their benefit or the “greater good.” So, we are facing an old dilemma when we talk about the mindset of a black hat hacker, and it all comes down to the circumstances of the whole ‘evil villain origin story. But without a doubt, we must agree that the actions this community chooses to take are illegal and have fatal consequences. Thi9s antagonistic character is dramatically shaping the cybersecurity space, presenting a pressing challenge that organizations, businesses, governments, and educational institutions must all understand to solve. Therefore, governments and companies must invest in upping their cyber security and privacy to defend themselves in the cyber war of our century.

Kristi Shehu is a Cyber Security Engineer (Application Security) and Cyber Journalist based in Albania. She lives and breathes technology, specializing in crafting content on cyber news and the latest security trends, all through the eyes of a cyber professional. Kristi is passionate about sharing her thoughts and opinions on the exciting world of cyber security, from breakthrough emerging technologies to dynamic startups across the globe.