There are those who study computer science, while some others build a new prototype for computer! Above all, there are those who hack into a computer system. Needless to say, whether they do it for fun or money, hackers hold a special place in every technophile’s heart. Take Julian Assange, for example. Although he was pressed with criminal charges, people regard him as a genius in computer systems. But hold onto your seats! Julian Assange is just another hacker compared to these 10 hackers. Perhaps the most notorious ones in computer hacking, these hackers can control your system in just a fraction of a second. In fact, they have hacked into elite government agencies. Furthermore, some of them were teens while pulling off this trick.
Imagine hacking into an aviation company and selling their confidential information online for just $1000 per person. ASTRA, a hacker based out of Greece, harvested confidential weapons technology information about the Dassault Group’s jet fighters and other military aircraft for this price. He would then sell this to 250 people across the world. His identity, although not clear, there are reports claiming him to be a mathematician. After doing math, his hacking accounted for a loss of $360 million to the Dassault Group.
2. Jeanson James Ancheta
Jeanson had the guts to hack into computers not to steal, but to promote his services. Promising to hack into any website that they wanted, his plan was successful as he garnered attention from many clients. His work is simple, he would first infest a computer worm called “rxbot”. Rxbot is a piece of expertly choreographed espionage. Using this he hacked into 500,000 computers, including the ones of the US Military. All did not go well for him, as he was arrested after one of his clients was an undercover FBI agent.
3. Owen Thor Walker
The community addresses him as “AKILL”. He is one of the youngest hackers in the list. His parents wouldn’t have imagined that homeschooling Owen would make him a hacker. As a 13-year-old, he was drawn to computer programming and encryption. After mastering it at the age of 17, he led an international hacker group in stealing bank account details. His source code gave his team a whopping $20 million. However, Owen only received $32,000. After pleading guilty in 2008, at the age of 18, he wasn’t convicted, and only had to pay back $11,000. Now he puts his knowledge in encryption to the best use by consulting companies on online security. With this man in your company, he would hack the hacker trying to steal your data!
4. Kevin Mitnick
If you don’t know Kevin Mitnick, then you are missing out on a lot. Perhaps the most famous hacker, he was called “The Darkside Hacker” for a reason. What started out as a hobby, Mitnick quickly took over the internet. Not just bypassing the punch card system for city buses, he has hacked into the network of networks of Pacific Bell, Nokia, IBM, Motorola, and a few other top-profile companies. He was so dangerous that the judge put him in a solitary continent fearing that he could start a nuclear war by sharing his codes. But that didn’t stop, after getting a release, he continued hacking. In 1999, he was the most-wanted cyber-criminal. As of now, he is active on the internet. Not for hacking, but to share his candid thoughts through Twitter!
5. Vladimir Levin
Levin’s story is almost like a movie plot. At a time when the internet was still at its infancy, Levin used to sit at his apartment at St. Petersburg and listen to phone calls. Not just any phone calls, he used to eavesdrop Account numbers and PINs. Using this, he transferred a total of $10.7M to his bank account from numerous large Citibank accounts from all over the world. When he was arrested, the officials were only able to recover $400,000 from his theft. Subsequently, in 1998, he was ordered to pay $240,000 to Citibank. He had to spend 3 years in prison in addition to the imposed fine. However, as of now, his whereabouts are unknown.
6. Gary McKinnon
Hacking into NASA servers to find pieces of evidence for extraterrestrial life is what kept McKinnon up all night. Before the NASA attack, “Solo”, hacked into 100 US Military servers between 2001 and 2002. Above all, he taunted the military by posting, “Your security system is crap. I am Solo. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels”. His misdemeanour cost the government around $700,000 to recover from the damages. As far as his NASA expedition is concerned, he found out that they “regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging”.
7. Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce
Bevan and Pryce hacked into the Pentagon’s network in 1994. This attack, however, wasn’t a one-off but they supposedly were on their system for several weeks. Based out of Britain, the duo got access to Korean nuclear facility and intercepted messages from US agents. Upon investigation, their target was South Korea. If only it was North Korea, their attacks would have been a signal for war. An interesting fact is that Bevan(21 years of age during the attack) was Pryce’s(16 years)tutor.
8. Lizard Squad
If you are an avid gamer and are actively involved in gaming communities, then you might as well recognise Lizard Squad. This infamous hacker group took down both the PlayStation and Xbox gaming networks. Furthermore, they sell their DDoS attack on their website. Formed in 2014, the hacker group claimed responsibility for attacks on Tinder, Facebook, and Instagram. In addition to that, they said they would release inappropriate pictures of Taylor Swift. As of now, the officials were only able to track down two members of the group.
9. Michael Calce
Unlike the other hackers mentioned in this list, Calce’s target was the companies of the digital age. That is Google, Yahoo!, eBay and Dell. His DDoS attack disabled Yahoo! for 1 whole hour. Considering the fact that Yahoo! was the most popular search engine at that time, it was a huge thing. His “ProjectRivolta” demanded President Bill Clinton appoint a special cyber task force to catch Calce. However, he was caught shortly after he bragged about his attacks on a chatroom.
“Hacktivist” group Anonymous needs no introduction! Formed in 2003, they probably are the best and most popular group of hackers in the world. Although at the beginning the group were majorly involved in trolls and pranks, the group quickly gained worldwide recognition after they launched an attack on the Church of Scientology in 2008. Since then, this leaderless internet group have responded to various social issues, including the most recent one involving George Floyd.