High-security space is as close to safe as EVE gets. However, it’s not perfectly safe, and if you’re willing to accept the consequences, you can prey on other players in this “safe” space, destroying their ships for fun and profit.
In high-security space, CONCORD - the spacecops - will arrive to punish any criminal within seconds after they commit the act. There is no way to evade CONCORD’s retribution; once you fire your weapons illegally, your ship will be destroyed moments later. Additionally, you will take a penalty to your “security status” (CONCORD’s opinion of you), and if it gets low enough (starting at -2.0), you will be hunted by faction police when you enter high-security space. Security status is restored by destroying NPC pirates.
As such, the main art of “suicide ganking” is finding a way to ensure your target is destroyed before CONCORD has a chance to arrive, and to do it economically enough to permit yourself a chance at profit.
The usual tools of the ganker are a destroyer, or possibly a cruiser, fit for the maximum damage output possible in the shortest period of time, and with the cheapest equipment that allows that.
Additionally, it is common to work with a friend or two:
hang out on major trade routes, with a friend a jump or two ahead using a
Cargo Scanner on ships to find targets carrying items of value,
then another friend on standby to scoop the items from their wreck
after they (and you) are destroyed.
CONCORD responds more slowly in systems of lower security status, and for that reason most suicide ganks are carried out in systems of 0.5 and 0.6 security. In these systems, the highest raw damage-per-second is preferable; in very high-security systems, the “alpha-strike” damage of a single shot is often more relevant.
Your ship’s safety systems will automatically prevent you from committing an illegal act. To disable them, click on the colored dot to the upper left of your health/capacitor readout. “Disable Safety” will allow you to commit any act, including those that invite CONCORD retribution. “Partial Safety” prevents you from doing anything that draws CONCORD’s wrath, but permits you to become a “suspect” via lesser crimes such as looting another player’s wreck, temporarily allowing other players to shoot you without CONCORD interference but not provoking CONCORD themselves.
Some gankers manipulate the criminal justice system in order to destroy their targets ‘legally’. By dropping a cargo container and enticing your target to take it, you can get them to send themselves Suspect, allowing them to shoot you freely. Alternately, by deliberately going Suspect around a player who you’ve irritated, you may provoke them to shoot at you - allowing you to shoot them back in self-defense.
Many players regard high-security space as safe, and will fly around in very fragile ships with a great deal of value in their cargo holds. Relieving them of this undeserved wealth can be a nice way to enrich yourself - and, if you’re so inclined, to harvest some tears as well.