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A black hat hacker is a hacker who "violates computer security for little reason beyond maliciousness or for personal gain." 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, modify, or steal data; or to make the network unusable for those who are authorized to use the network. Black hat hackers are also referred to as the "crackers" within the security industry and by modern programmers. Crackers keep the awareness of the vulnerabilities to themselves and do not notify the general public or the manufacturer for patches to be applied. Individual freedom and accessibility is promoted over privacy and security. Once they have gained control over a system, they may apply patches or fixes to the system only to keep their reigning control.
- Moore, Robert (2005). Cybercrime: Investigating High Technology Computer Crime. Matthew Bender & Company. p. 258. ISBN 1-59345-303-5.Robert Moore
- Moore, Robert (2006). Cybercrime: Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime (1st ed.). Cincinnati, Ohio: Anderson Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59345-303-9.
- O'Brien, Marakas, James, George (2011). Management Information Systems. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/ Irwin. pp. 536–537. ISBN 978-0-07-752217-9.