There are many notable hackers all around the world. There are mainly two types of hackers, first, who dominate the cyber world by breaking the secure firewall. Second, who is computer security experts and specializes in penetration testing. The word “hacker” originally referred to 2nd type, it doesn’t mean “Criminal” or “Bad Guys.” Yeah! That’s true. There are good hackers and bad hackers! These days, benevolent hackers are often known as “White Hat Hackers” and sinister or bad hackers are called as “Black Hat Hackers.” In this article, I’ll be taking about 5 most famous hackers in the world. Here are the 5 most known black hat hackers and what happened to them.
Jonathan James was known as “c0mrade” on the Internet. What is his ticket to fame? He was convicted and sent to prison for hacking in the United States–all while he was still a minor. At only fifteen years of age, he managed to hack into a number of networks, including those belonging to Bell South, Miami-Dade, the U.S. Department of Defense, and NASA.
Yes, James hacked into NASA’s network and downloaded enough source code to learn how the International Space Station worked. The total value of the downloaded assets equaled $1.7 million. To add insult to injury, NASA had to shut down their network for three whole weeks while they investigated the breach, which cost them $41,000.
The story of James has a tragic ending, however. In 2007, a number of high profile companies fell victim to a massive wave of malicious network attacks. Even though James denied any involvement, he was suspected and investigated. In 2008, James committed suicide, believing he would be convicted of crimes that he did not commit.
Kevin Mitnick is the “Most Wanted Computer Criminal” in U.S history. There are two featured films based on Kevin Mitnick – Takedown (2000) and Freedom Downtime. What did he do? He hacked the cell phone and made free calls, he had stolen the code from companies like Sun Microsystems and Novell. Kevin also hacked into NSA (National Security Agency) phone calls. When he found guilty in many frauds charges, he had been sent to prison for five years. Nowadays, he works as a professional Security Consultant.
Albert Gonzalez paved his way to Internet fame when he collected over 170 million credit card and ATM card numbers over a period of 2 years. Yep. That’s equal to a little over half the population of the United States.
Gonzalez started off as the leader of a hacker group known as ShadowCrew. This group would go on to steal 1.5 million credit card numbers and sell them online for profit. ShadowCrew also fabricated fraudulent passports, health insurance cards, and birth certificates for identity theft crimes totaling $4.3 million stolen.
The big bucks wouldn’t come until later, when Gonzalez hacked into the databases of TJX Companies and Heartland Payment Systems for their stored credit card numbers. In 2010, Gonzalez was sentenced to prison for 20 years (2 sentences of 20 years to be served out simultaneously).
Kevin Poulsen, also known as “Dark Dante,” gained his fifteen minutes of fame by utilizing his intricate knowledge of telephone systems. At one point, he hacked a radio station’s phone lines and fixed himself as the winning caller, earning him a brand new Porsche. According to media, he was called the “Hannibal Lecter of computer crime.”
He then earned his way onto the FBI’s wanted list when he hacked into federal systems and stole wiretap information. Funny enough, he was later captured in a supermarket and sentenced to 51 months in prison, as well paying $56,000 in restitution.
Like Kevin Mitnick, Poulsen changed his ways after being released from prison. He began working as a journalist and is now a senior editor for Wired News. At one point, he even helped law enforcement to identify 744 sex offenders on MySpace.
Scottish computer hacker, Gray McKinnon was popular as Internet handle “Solo.” He gained access 97 American Military Networks and NASA between 2001 and 2002, and leaving the message on military website, “Your Security is Crap.” However, he claimed that he was just searching for information about energy suppression and UFO activity cover-ups. It has registered “Biggest Military Computer Hack of all the time.” But, now he has reinvented as a SEO wizard and charging 40 Pounds per hour to help websites cum blog ranks.