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.
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Owen Thor Walker
Codenamed AKILL, Owen Thor Walker was just 18 when he got caught for helping an online crime gang hack into a million computers and steal upwards of 20 million dollars. However, he pleaded guilty and all charges were dropped when he acted as a telecom consultant to major corporations, helping them know where security vulnerabilities lie.
Before he and best buddy Steve Jobs founded Apple, they were up to all kinds of no good…including hacking mischief. Wozniak specifically called himself a white hat hacker, someone who likes to look into tech vulnerabilities and fix them. With an avid curiosity, he hacked into phone lines to make free phone calls, jammed televisions to trick his friends, and guessed his stepson’s password and played all kinds of pranks on him.
Albert Gonzalez led a network of cyber criminals on one of the largest breaches in network security ever. It was called “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” He and the other thieves hacked 90 million debit and credit card numbers from TJX, a large clothing retailer. His goal was to steal $15 million, buy a yacht, and retire. Overall, they stole over $200 million. However, his dreams of buying and retiring were put on hold when a court convicted him of his cyber crimes. They sentenced him to twenty years in jail.
Jonathan James, also codenamed C0mrade, was the youngest hacker ever to serve time in prison for hacking into several government agencies. He hacked NASA, the Defense Department, Marshall Space Flight Center, and International Space Station. As a kid, he studied endless books on C and Unix, giving him the ability to play around with networks for fun. In 2008, at the age of 24, James committed suicide. He claimed government agencies were trying to pin him on the TJX security breach; he claimed he didn’t have anything to do with it. Believing they’d make him a patsy, he decided to take his own life.
Jeanson James Ancheta
At the age of 21, Jeanson James Ancheta organized a botnet scheme to hack into 400,000 compromised computer systems using malware. He received $104,000 from adverting firms for installing bots and adware on systems as well. But, after being caught, he was convicted and sentenced to 57 months in prison for violating the Computer Fraud Abuse Act.
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