Even if you are considered to be a white hat hacker, you are always still walking a fine line between being a bad guy and a good guy in many people eyes. There are a lot of people out there who believe that there should be no hacking at all being done and everyone who does it should be considered a criminal. Of course that is a very small myopic view of how being a white hat hacker really works but there is always going to be an element of that kind of thought out there. There are just a lot of people out there who believe that if you ban hacking outright that it will never be done. And that is simply just not true and is a pure fantasy.
But if you really want to be a good and effective white hat hacker, then there are some elements about the other side that you should really get to know. If you want to be able to beat your enemies then you should be able to figure out how they operate. It is not enough for you to be able to take a look at their attacks and try to study their patterns. You should be able to get inside the head of your enemy and try to figure why they do the things that they do. Once you are in someone head then you are able to predict what they are going to do and now you are able to play a little offense instead of planning out defense strategies all of the time.
There are several ways that you can try to get inside of the head of a black hat hacker, but the best way is to go where they go online and see what they are talking about. And you can do that through the use IRC and the many black hat forums that are out there. For as good as a lot of these black hat hackers are, they tend to hang out in places that are not considered very secure in the first place. If you are able to join these places and hang out you will be able to see what goes on before a lot of the attacks that you see on the web.
There are of course certain precautions that you want to take before you attempt to take this kind of step. You will want to make sure that you are behind some sort of proxy so that your real IP is not exposed. You will also want to make sure that no one knows that you are someone who works for the other side. As a matter of fact you should not really give out any personal information about yourself.
That includes not talking about your social media accounts and your home life. Even though you might think that you are being sneaky, a smart social hacker will be able to take the information that you have given and find out who you really are. While it does help you learn your enemy by engaging with them, overall you are mostly there to just observe and see how they interact with each other. It is like a spy going into an enemy camp to see what they do all day.
When you are trying to be on the right side of the law and help people secure themselves, then sometimes you have to be willing to mix up with people who are on the other side of the line. Just doing this will help you do your job a lot better.