As filmmakers have regularly dipped into the world of computer hackers to bolster tales of technological intrigue, they’ve often made low-key anti-heroes of hackers themselves. Despite this fact, much of the hacking seen in films like 2015’s underrated thriller “Blackhat” is conducted mostly on the wrong side of the law, and that’s in part because most real-world hacking is not strictly legal.
Just FYI, if you’re wondering where that film got its title, the term black hat refers to hackers who use their skills almost exclusively for less-than-legal means. There is, however, an entire set of hackers dedicated to utilizing their skills for good. They’re called white hat hackers, and they use those skills to help those at risk identify weaknesses in their security systems that could be exploited by the black hat set.
Of course, it’s widely believed that many white hat hackers used to work on the other side of the legal divide, and it’s safe to assume their first-hand knowledge of the black hat set is pivotal to how they approach preventing malicious attacks. But for the sake of entertainment, it’s arguably more exciting to root for the anti-hero hackers of the world — even if the movies don’t always get their world right.
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