Counter Strike go, underground forums, weed, cryptocurrency and energy drinks, these are one of the things that you will see back in our current day hacker. This hacker knows his way on the web, is familiair with VPNs and not because of the reason you think of. These kids and kiddies are familiar with these things because all of them tried to cheat at least once during an online match, or they tried to play a game without paying for it. This could have been for the fame, or for the fact which many hackers have; because they can. In that process, the hunt for cheats, bots (gaming bots) and codes, they often stumble upon hacking tools which will spark their interest.
Hell, some even start reverse engineering without knowing it, they alter local game databases so they can have specific skins they can use ingame. In that process, they also see that easy money is there to be made, and believe me when I tell you; not everyone has parents that pay attention on the right moments. These kids start making money online, it can be via affiliate programs, paid hacks or anything else which they can provide. In this process, some start to understand that they are good in what they are doing, these kids start to advance in a very focussed way.
They know they can make more money if they get better.
With money comes responsibility?
No. A lot of them, will not know how to deal with the money, so they head towards the spotlights, fancy places, money on their social media accounts and they will surround themselves with “friends” which are no friends. They start a lifestyle, and in that lifestyle, filters will be applied quickly, and especially if you are moving fast. These filters will be applied by their surrounding. Some of them will get caught, and some of them will get a full time job, while others will get recruited by criminal gangs and organization. These gangs can be from the streets, but in the current age, the chance is higher that they are from the web. The guys from the streets (if people know you are a hacker, I bet you have had this question) will ask you if you can setup a way on how to steal credentials or money, or how to take down a environment.
Hell, they will even ask you if you can hack a bank for them.
The big difference with the guys from the street and the criminal is the fact that they know how to apply physical pressure, a lot of them starting criminal hackers will follow, they know the web, not the streets, and of course — fast money is there to be made.
The criminal organizations, they can apply presure as well, but you can bet on it, that they also have the resources to let someone else apply that pressure. The chance is very high that the hacker will follow, for thousands of reasons you probably already know.
I told my mother I am a cybercriminal, and she slapped me so hard, I am a ethical hacker now (joke)
Oh, and I know hackers are not bad, but hey, it is about what you know about yourself. Do not feel offended if the news/media uses the word hacker for criminals. You should not be yelling around that you are a hacker.
Be proud, but keep it to yourself. You are appreciated if you are doing good.