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.
Known for wearing Guy Fawkes masks, Anonymous is not one cohesive group, but a fluid movement with no leader or hierarchy. If anything, it’s a loose organization of hackers and protesters pushing for change through non-violent means, including hacktivism. Many of the hackers associated with Anonymous, however, have been arrested for several cyber crimes.
While some hackers break into systems to get money, Gary McKinnon was on another quest – finding UFO information from the government. In the 1990’s, he got his first computer and later received certification in computers. Between 2001 to 2002, McKinnon hacked into several US government agencies, including several NASA computer systems. He claims to have found documentation proving the existence of UFO’s and extraterrestrials. The US sought extradition to be tried in their courts, but the UK denied the request and would not seek charges against him, making him a free man.
Lizard Squad is a black hat hacking group notorious for bringing down Playstation and Xbox gaming networks in 2014. At one point, they claimed to have nude photos of Taylor Swift. They also have taken down Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a UK government site. Their main hacking method is DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, where hundreds of different IP addresses send a mass amount of data to servers, bringing it down.
At the age of 14, James Kosta faced 45 years of jail time for his hacking conquests into major banking systems, GE, and IBM. Fortunately for him, a judge gave him a break and Kosta took advantage of it, completely turning his life around. When he was released, he worked for the CIA, and at the age of 24, he created his own multi-million dollar video game company, 3G Studio, Inc.
John McAfee was a white hat hacker, working in the early days of computing and later building his computer virus protection business, McAfee. His business came to notoriety when it announced the Michelangelo virus could infect five million computers. However, he left the company eventually and sold all his shares for $100 million. Right now, most of his wealth is gone; he’s reportedly been up to no good in Belize.