There are two types of hackers out there; the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys are known as the white hack hackers who serve to help in improving the security of your systems. These are the ones that make it legal for you to make money as a hacker. Just as there are the good ones, the bad ones are called black hat hackers.
Trust me, there are many of the hackers on both side of the pew, but there are some that have become very infamous for the things they have been doing all over the world, including some that are being sought for by the FBI.
Here are 11 of the most notorious hackers of all time:
1. Michael Calce
He may be only 15 years old at the time, but he may as well be the most daring. Also regarding known rightly as the Mafiaboy, this teenager found a way of hacking into the systems of universities and then he went on what can best be described as a rampage on the internet. The Quebec born hacker began what he termed Project Rivolta (riot) in 2000 and the target was the biggest search engine of the time, Yahoo! His project successfully shut down the search engine which was a multibillion-dollar web company at the time.
Soon the Canadian went on to bring other top sites including eBay, CNN, Amazon, and Dell.com. By the time he was done, the entire world had already heard of what was going on and an estimated $1.7 billion was lost in damages
As most teenagers would do, the boy took to chat rooms and started claiming that he was responsible for the attacks. No one would have taken him serious but for the fact that he also claimed that he also attacked Dell even though at the time, that was not yet made public. He was arrested and found guilty of the charges brought against him, but since he was a minor, he was not imprisoned.
2. Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev
Bogachev is not only one of the most notorious hacker, he is also on the wanted list of the FBI with a $3 million bounty placed on him. To be clear, this is the highest prize the Investigation Bureau has ever placed on anyone for cyber offenses.
Also using the names “lucky12345” and “slavik” online, he is said to hack into the computers of people through a software that helps him in capturing the bank account numbers, passwords, personal identification numbers, and their other information necessary to log into online banking accounts. The software which is known as Zeus has stolen hundreds of million dollars from people all over the world.
Mikhailovich Bogachev is also said to be hacking into the computers of people to allow the Russian intelligence agency to gain access to information illegally. Even as he kept hacking for a very long time, it was only in 2014 that his identity was revealed.
3. Albert Gonzalez
Gonzalez led one of the biggest hackings frauds ever. The man led a hacking group known as the ShadowCrew. He saw the group from 2005 to 2007 as it hacked many computers and stole credit card details and ATM numbers that it sold. Thanks to his leadership, ShadowCrew also carried other fraudulent activities that included identity theft, and fabrication of fraudulent passports and health insurance cards.
He became popular when it was realized that he stole over 170 million credit card and ATM card numbers which were sold on the ShadowCrew website that had as much as 4,000 members registered. His arrest was in 2007 and is now serving a 20-year term that would end in 2025.
4. Raphael Gray
Gray has been described as the bill gates of hacking. This title is not for nothing as the man began hacking as a teen, and when he was 19, the Welsh man decided to hack many computers all over the world, and he did this for 6 weeks. He took over these computers in a multi-million-pound credit card mission. To point out the weakness of the online security systems, the man published the credit card numbers he obtained on the internet.
One of his most popular stunts was sending Viagra to Microsoft founder, Bill Gates after he was able to hack and get his credit card number. The arrest of this hacker who was also known as the Curador was through the help of another hacker who said he got tired of the man’s arrogance.
Even though most of the hackers on the list are young or began when they were really young, ASTRA was arrested when he was 58 years old. The man was a mathematician and a notorious Greek hacker who carried out one of the most dangerous hackings ever.
What he did was to hack into the French aviation company Dassault Group computers and steal weapons technology data which he sold to different countries and groups including some in the Middle East. The most surprising thing about this hacker is that he kept his game going for up to 5 years and even though he was declared wanted, he was able to stay hidden for those years.
As a result of this hacker, the company had already lost $360 million by the time the man was caught in 2008. He was sentenced to serve the next six years behind bars.
6. Gary McKinnon
Born in Glasgow in 1966, McKinnon only got his qualification in computers in the 1990s and soon he hit the hacker’s road. Interestingly enough, the man decided to hack in all the places where many others wouldn’t dare. He hacked the US military as well as the NASA which has come to become one of the targets of hackers.
The Autistic ‘hacker’ who began writing computer programming since he was only 14 was said to have hacked military computers until he left them useless soon after the September 11 terror attacks. He was accused of carrying out “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. The man sometimes left messages behind telling the NASA and Military that their security sucked.
It was until 2002 Gary McKinnon was caught because he left some tracks behind. According to him, he wanted to be caught because the life he was leading was ruining him. Nevertheless, he was not extradited to the United States to face any trial because of his health and other political reasons.
7. Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce
These two notorious hackers were said to have almost started a World War III after they hacked the Korean Atomic Research Institute (KARI) and dumped the files on the American military systems, both of which they hacked. They also hacked Griffiss Air Force Base and the Defense Information System Agency.
Even though the result would have been missiles flying from one part of the world to another, what the hackers Bevan (Kuji) and Pryce (Datastream Cowboy) wanted to do was simply to prove a UFO conspiracy. Thanks to their hacking of the USAF, NASA, and NATO, they were already been considered as foreign agents by the United States Senate.
Matthew Bevan, a British, was at the fore of the whole thing and he was arrested in 1996, but he was not extradited to the United States.
8. Jonathan James
Like many others, James began hacking at a very young age. As a minor, he got involved in many hacking activities that included hacking government institutions, corporate organizations, and higher institutions among other things.
He got extremely adventurous when he decided to hack NASA’s system in order to understand how the space activities work. At the time he infiltrated NASA, the young man who was also known as C0mrade was only 16. He stole data which value was placed to be as high as $1.7 million. The government Agency had to turn off its systems before rebooting in order to take back its systems from the hacker, and because of that, it incurred a loss of $41,000.
When he was arrested for the NASA event, he said: “The code itself sucked… it was not worth the $1.7 million they said”.
He shot and killed himself in 2008 when he was only 24 in fear that he would be arrested and tried for a crime he did not have anything to do with. The crime had to do with the hacking of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, and Sports Authority among others. In his suicide note, the young hacker said he had no faith in the justice system.
9. Chad Davis
Just like most others, Chad began hacking as a teenager. His case, however, is very interesting as the 17-year-old was a part of a group that went on to carry out the hacking of the White House website, and other government and corporate websites. He was the leader of a notorious hack group known as the globalHell.
In a crackdown on members of the group, the FBI visited his home, but after nothing was found, he was only charged $165 for possession of beer as he was still a minor at the time. In retaliation, he decided to hack down the website of the US military and “globalHell will not die”.
Soon he was arrested and charged to court where he pleaded guilty of vandalizing the website. He was sentenced to six months in prison and US$8,054 in restitution. He was also placed on a year’s probation and forbade from using computers.
10. Kevin Mitnick
Born on 6 August 1963, Mitnick began hacking when he was only a boy in his teens. This makes him one of the earlier known hackers as he became popular in the 1980s when he hacked a lot of things including the Pacific Bell from which he stole some computer manuals in 1981 and in 1982, he successfully hacked the North American Defense Command (NORAD). It was thanks to this that the 1983 film “War Games” came about. Other hacking activities he carried out included the hacking of Digital Equipment Corporation’s (DEC) network and many phones.
The man was later arrested and jailed, but after making it out, he is today one of the top security consultants. Interestingly enough, he didn’t use the things he hacked for financial benefits.
11. Marcel Lehel Lazar
Beforehand, let’s make it clear that this man is not the regular hacker that you will see, and he is not one of the most notorious hackers out there, but he is still able to make the list because of how different he does his hacking.
Marcel Lehel Lazar goes by the name of Guccifer online, and he was neither trained in computers nor was he the regular kind of hacker. In fact, the man was a cab driver who would read about those he wanted to hack on Wikipedia. From the information he gets, the man would guess their passwords and access their emails or other online accounts.
Through this method and other simple hacking tricks he learned online, the Romanian was able to hack into many accounts including those of high profile individuals such as Colin Powell, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, and he hacked and got some memos belonging to the U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
He was arrested in Romania and sentenced to prison for 7 years, before being extradited to the US where he was sentenced to 5 years in prison.