The Most Famous Hackers of All Time

Despite the huge number of warnings, we are still not used to expecting something bad from the internet. The worldwide web offers easy access to information and fast communication with people in different parts of the world. However, the many advantages that the internet provides have also given rise to a class of people who aim to deceive and take advantage of others in ways that most ordinary users do not understand.

The internet is a dangerous place for everyone. Yet there is a persistent Myth of Privacy on the internet.

On the other hand, you need to understand that not all hackers have malicious intentions. In fact, they can be divided into three main groups:

  • White hackers: They’re working to improve computer security.
  • Grey hackers: They launch computer attacks for the fun of it.
  • Black hackers: Their sole purpose is to hack into your private life.

The latter group is the most dangerous and, as history has shown, people have repeatedly become victims of black hackers, and they are very good at covering their tracks. If you are interested in finding out what these hackers have done and what they are doing now, here is a list of the world’s 9 most famous hackers.

Consider the Updated Cyber Crime Statistics for 2020 and know how to protect your data from hacker attacks.

The 7 most famous hackers

1. Kevin Mitnick

A famous hacker Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick was probably the only computer hacker known even to people far from computers, and one of the most elusive criminals in the United States. Throughout the 80’s, Mitnick penetrated the computer systems of almost all well-known companies. His story was so amazing that it became the plot of the adventure thriller “Hacking.”

Our previous review of The Best Hacker Movies is waiting for you in our blog.

After an attack on the American computer company Digital Equipment Corporation’s network, Kevin spent one year in prison and was let out on supervised release for three years. However, at the end of the term, the hacker escaped and committed many high-profile hacks over the next two and a half years, including theft of corporate secrets and attacks on national security alert systems.

6. Jonathan James

A famous hacker Jonathan James

In the list of computer systems that must be incredibly well protected so that no computer genius can break through, the system of the US Department of Defense undoubtedly takes pride of place. However, the American hacker Jonathan James hacked this system and entered their server. The guy was 15 years old at the time. 

On June 29-30, 1999, James attacked NASA. He was able to freely crawl the entire network and steal several files, including the source code of the International Space Station. Of course, NASA launched a large-scale operation to catch the hacker, and soon James was caught. NASA estimated the damage at $1.7 million. Since James was not of legal age, he was sentenced to only six months in prison. 

Unfortunately, James is no longer alive. He died on May 18, 2008, under mysterious circumstances. The official cause of death was a suicide, but there were rumors that the uncooperative hacker was “removed” by government agencies.

5. Gary McKinnon

A famous hacker Gary McKinnon

On the web, Gary McKinnon is better known as Solo. This Scottish hacker organized the largest ever hacking of a military computer system. In just 13 months (from February 2001 to March 2002), McKinnon gained access to over 95 computers belonging to NASA and the US Armed forces.

According to the hacker, he was only interested in secret information about UFOs and alternative energy sources. Regulators said that he stole many important files and caused damage amounting to more than $700,000.

Since McKinnon lived in Scotland and carried out all his activities from the United Kingdom, American regulators could not reach him. However, in 2005, the US authorities requested his extradition. Then-British Prime Minister Theresa May refuse the request, citing McKinnon’s “serious illness.”

4. Loyd Blankenship

A famous hacker Loyd Blankenship

Loyd Blankenship is part of a hacker group called Legion of Doom, which feuded with Masters of Deception. It is believed that in the 90’s a real struggle developed between the two groups, which went down in history as the “Great hacker war,” although all participants in LOD and MOD deny any conflicts. 

As for Loyd Blankenship, known by the nickname “Mentor,” he became famous for his work, called “The Hacker Manifesto.” Loyd published it in the 80s after being arrested by the FBI. The Manifesto states that hackers’ only crime is their curiosity. 

Loyd also formed a code of honor for hackers, which refers to hackers’ indifference to religion, race, or political preferences — their only purpose: to gain access to hidden information. This Manifesto has become a kind of “Bible” of hackers worldwide, who still honor all the prescriptions of Loyd Blankenship, who became a real legend.

3. Julian Assange

 A famous hacker Julian Assange

Julian Assange started hacking at the age of 16. For this activity, he used the nickname Mendax. In just four years, Assange managed to hack the networks of many corporations, government organizations, and educational institutions, including NASA, Lockheed Martin, Stanford University, and the Pentagon.

In 2006, he created WikiLeaks, a platform that publishes classified information obtained from anonymous sources or leaks. In 2010, the US government opened a case against Assange on charges of espionage.

Since 2012, Assange has lived in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, which granted him political asylum. But in April 2019, the country’s authorities revoked his political asylum, and Assange was arrested. He is currently in a British prison.

2. Guccifer 2.0

A famous hacker Guccifer 2.0

The true identity of the hacker named Guccifer 2.0 is not known for sure. It may be one person, or it may be a group of people. During the 2016 US presidential election, Guccifer 2.0 hacked the Democratic National Committee of the United States, after which hundreds of secret documents appeared on WikiLeaks and other similar resources. 

Some believe that the Russian special services actually carried out the cyberattack, and the identity Guccifer 2.0 is just an attempt to divert attention from their participation.

After the presidential election, Guccifer disappeared, reappearing in January 2017 to proclaim that he is Romanian and has nothing to do with Russian intelligence services. Despite his claims, most Western security services believe Guccifer 2.0 is indeed a Russian individual or group posing as Romanian.

1. Michael Calce

A famous hacker Michael Calce

This hacker went down in history under the pseudonym MafiaBoy. He has carried out several cyberattacks on commercial organizations such as Yahoo, FIFA, eBay, and Amazon. 

Michael’s childhood was difficult. The only salvation was the computer, which the future hacker became interested in at 6 years old. Later in life, “MafiaBoy” initiated operation “Rivolta” (meaning “rebellion” in Italian), which was supposed to ensure the shutdown of many sites worldwide and bring his hacker group, called “TNT,” the recognition of all hackers on the planet. 

However, later claimed that he only intended to hack Yahoo but the program, which he left running when he left for school, disabled many more sites. The FBI tracked down Calce because of his carelessness and braggadocio. He boasted in one chatroom that he had taken down the Dell website, although none of the news releases had mentioned that Dell had been attacked (the attack failed). This alerted law enforcement agencies to his involvement.

One analyst estimated that Calce’s DDoS attack caused damage of at least $1.2 billion. The courts put the figure much lower, in the millions. In the end, he got off with only a suspended sentence and a lengthy ban on using the internet.

We’ve prepared Checklist of Necessary Security Measures on the internet. Read the article and protect yourself on the Wide World Web.


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