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Infosec community is not happy with changing ‘Black Hat’ term due to racism

Black hat hackers
Black hat hackers

There is a lot of things happening in the world right now such as a pandemic, border tensions between various countries as well as internal tensions in the US. What we are focusing on right now are the internal tensions in the US which relate to targeting the black community in particular. It was known from years that the black people in US did not have the same rights the white people enjoyed. Now, this is not because of the law but it did happen and people were not talking about it.

However, the George Floyd incident meant that black people came out and became vocal about these things and demanded a change which is why the Black Lives Matter campaign was started. Now, we have seen that a lot of things have happened since then and use of terms that would hurt the black community have been removed. This has now come to the Information Security community as well and the term ‘Black Hat’ is being removed as it refers to racism. However, the community isn’t happy about this after a Google security researcher did not attend a black hat conference and asked them to remove the term.

Not only Black Hat but Google researcher told them to remove other terms like White Hat, man-in-the-middle as well as find neutral alternatives. It is known that Black Hat is an illegal tactic used by hackers where white hat is believed to be good so it does tell you that the term targets people with colour representing a colour with the term.

MalwareTech objected to this saying that they are a “Little confused by this whole “Black Hat is racist” argument. The term came from hat colors in western movies, and has nothing to do with race. Coming up with racist connotations for non-racially charged terms, then trying to change them on those grounds just feels wrong”.