The term was coined by Richard Stallman, to contrast the maliciousness of a criminal hacker versus the spirit of playfulness and exploration of hacker culture, or the ethos of the white hat hacker (or white-hat hacker), who performs hackerly duties to identify places to repair. The black hat and white hat terminology originates in Western films, wherein heroic and antagonistic cowboys might traditionally wear a white and a black hat respectively.
Black hat hackers form the stereotypical, illegal hacking groups often portrayed in popular culture, and are "the epitome of all that the public fears in a computer criminal". Black hat hackers break into secure networks to destroy, ransom, modify, or steal data, or to make the networks unusable for authorized network users.
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