Hacker. An often misused and misconstrued term of the modern age. In today’s time, the different forms of media have created the image that comes to our mind when we think of a hacker. In general terms, a hacker can be any computer expert who’s highly skilled in their field. Depending on the field of work, the term hacker takes on a controversial and unethical meaning.
The image that comes to your head when you think of a hacker, is usually a back-hat hacker. Black hat hackers are the ones who violate computer security for personal gain and benefit or for pure maliciousness . Below are some of the most well-known black hat hackers.
This man was once the most wanted cyber criminal in the world. His obsession with computers spiraled into a 2 and a half year long hacking spree during which he stole corporate secrets from the companies like IBM, Motorola and even the National Defense warning system totaling a few million dollars. He spent 2 stints in jail for his crime and is now a white hat hacker.
Mathew Bevan and Richard Pryce
These two men were 21 and 17 respectively when they hacked into US military computers but that’s not the hack they’re known for. What could be a greater claim to fame than a US military hack ? A North Korea military hack. These are probably the only two hackers in the world that can claim they almost started a war.
Michael Calce a.k.a MafiaBoy
A Canadian hacker who was responsible for a series of cyber-attacks in 2000. The attacks consisted of a DDoS attack on major websites at the time including Yahoo, FIFA, Amazon, ebay and CNN among others. He code named the attack as Project Rivolta which means riot in Italian and was caught when he boasted about the attacks in a chat room. Although, him being in high school at the time aided in getting him just an 8 month sentence.
Jeanson James Ancheta
Probably one of the first, if not the first person to use botnets. He started to work with botnets robot, a computer worm back in 2004 which would spread its network of infected computers that eventually led to US military computers being compromised. Ultimately he had to serve around 60 months in prison for his actions & paid over $58,000 in fines.
Going by the nickname Solo, he is a hacker based in Scotland who is credited with the largest known military computer hack ever. He was accused of hacking into 97 US military and NASA computers between February 2001 and March 2002 and deleted critical files – including weapon logs
Going by the nick name AKILL, Owen was just 17 when he created a bot virus that managed to infected over a million computers across the world. The bot caused the computers to crash and is estimated to have caused a loss of $ 26 million. Although Owen was caught, he was released without a conviction.
This is only hacker on the list who has yet to be credibly identified. Astra was said to be a 58-year old Mathematician traced to Athens, Greece and was said to be active from 2002 to 2008. In those years, he reportedly stole weapons technology data in 3D modeling from a company named Salt Group which was then sold for around $ 360 million.
Branded the “Hannibal Lecter of computer crime” in the 80s by Los Angeles police, Kevin Lee Poulsen is an American former black hat hacker and a current digital security journalist. His most notorious hack was a takeover of all of the telephone lines for Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM, guaranteeing that he would be the 102nd caller and win the prize of a Porsche 944 S2. He has also exposed more than 740 sex offenders online. Caught by the FBI in 1991, he pled guilty to counts of mail, wire and computer frauds and also exposing info on a secret business run by the FBI. He was given 51 months in prison (then the longest sentence ever given for hacking). He was also banned from using computers or the Internet for 3 years after his release.
The last hacker on this list is credited with stealing information of over 170 million credit cards and then selling that information online. The total damage caused by his activities through the identity theft has never been disclosed. He was sentenced to 4 decades in prison for his actions.
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