Black hat hackers (or crackers, or sometimes just hackers if you don’t care to differentiate) are individuals with extensive computer knowledge whose purpose is to breach or bypass internet security. The general view is that, while hackers build things, black hat hackers break things. Their numbers are plentiful online, their services are easily for hire, and their are ethics dubious.
Most crackers utilize social engineering, which involves deceiving victims into unwittingly disclosing confidential information or pursuing a fraudulent action. Phishing is a prime example. So what might people want with a black hat hacker? For one, imagine a scenario in which you want to break into someone’s email account (not that any of us would ever want to, one hopes…). The hacker might ask you for additional information, such as the name of an acquaintance of that person. The cybercriminal would then send a phishing email ostensibly from the acquaintance and acquire the needed information, for the right price. The victim would be none the wiser, and the attack could leave their computers infected with malware; either scenario is not good.
This brings us back to one of our central concerns—how can we pinpoint cybercriminals so that they may face some responsibility for their actions? Is the general public part of the problem, in patronizing these illegal businesses, or not accurately reporting instances of cybercrime? What more can we do, or what can we do in the first place?