Hackers come in three different hats: black, white, and gray. But the black hat hackers always seem to get the most notoriety for their mischievous deeds. Black hats use viruses, malware, phishing scams, and anything to boost their cred or their pocket book. When they’re successful, they usually end up on the news and force you to change your passwords. But who among them are the elite? Here are 25 Most Notorious Hackers In History.
Loyd Blankenship, also known as The Mentor, was a hacker notorious for writing “The Hacker’s Manifesto.” It appeared in Phrack magazine and became infamous in hacker circles for decades. Blankenship moved on from hacking but continued developing software into his later years.
At a young age, Kevin Mitnick became an infamous black hat hacker, a hacker exploiting systems for personal gain. He hacked into IBM, Nokia, Motorola, and many others. However, after being thrown into prison for his exploits, he came out turning his skills into a consultation business, helping others become more secure from hackers.
In 1995, Vladimir Levin, a Russian student in St. Petersberg, took to his computer terminal to hack into Citibank and steal $10 million. He funneled the money into accounts all over the world. However, not soon after, the FBI traced it back to him, and Levin was arrested and taken to London. He was then taken to the United States where he was tried for the security breach.
The Masters of Deception
The Masters of Deception was a New York hacker gang comprised of Mark Abene (Phiber Optik), Paul Stira (Scorpion), Elias Ladopolous (Acid Phreak), HAC, John Lee (Corrupt), and Julio Fernadez (Outlaw). Additional members came on as the group grew. In 1992, they orchestrated some of the most notorious hacks in history, including stealing credit card information and breaking into AT&Ts computer system. However, all five were arrested by the FBI; they all pled guilty.
Once regarded as a child prodigy, Kevin Poulsen, also known as Dark Dante, was the first hacker ever to be involved in an espionage case. In 1989, Poulsen was arrested for 19 counts of conspiracy, wiretapping, fraud, and money laundering. Of his infamous activities, he hacked into all the telephone lines of the KIIS-FM radio station to be the 102nd caller, winning a Porsche 944 S2. When the FBI went after him, he went underground as a fugitive. When Unsolved Mysteries ran an episode featuring him, the 1-800 phone lines all crashed. However, they eventually did catch him. He served 51 months in prison and later became an editor of Wired magazine.