What did these guys to be considered the most famous hackers in history

Most famous hackers in historyHackers: brilliant minds or dangerous pirates?
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For some people, hackers are pirates who must be imprisoned. For others, they are rebels with brilliant minds capable of deciphering the most complex computer riddles. The Hacker world has always been in the spotlight of the controversy and it is not surprising. Some of them have managed to violate the intelligence systems of the most powerful countries and access their secret databases. Discover who have been the most famous hackers in history and what they have done to deserve this title.

What is behind the most famous hackers?

The mind of a hacker is always in search of knowledge and challenges with good or bad intentions.

Some hackers have been arrested and sent to prison, while others have been recruited by companies and even by the same governments that they have attacked in the past.

Let's see who the most famous hackers are in this brief review of their incredible biographies.

Michael Calce aka "Mafiaboy"

We start with one of the youngest hackers: Michael Calce. The so-called Mafiaboy received his first computer at the age of 6 years old. When he was 15, he had already become one of the most competent hackers.

It all started as a challenge among teenage hackers. A Calce´s friend believed that it was impossible to hack the CNN website. However, Calce did not have much trouble attacking the news giant and collapsing its website for two hours.

The same Mafiaboy relates in his autobiography the feeling of power and addiction that caused him to have achieved such kind of goal in a few minutes. Calce was also known to execute DDoS attacks that managed to put down eBay, Yahoo and ETRADE websites in 2000.

Although Calce was gaining popularity among the Hacker community, he was still living a teenager life. He was arrested by the police at his friend's place while having fun eating pizza and watching their favorite tv show.

Calce was condemned to probation with restrictions on the use of computers. Currently, Calce runs his own cybersecurity company.

Gary McKinnon aka "Solo"

McKinnon became one of the most famous hackers because due to the biggest hacking of military computers in history.

Practically, McKinnon managed to enter into the kitchen of the most important agencies of the US government such as NASA, the Pentagon, the Department of Defense and the Army.

McKinnon intended to find information that would confirm the existence of a secret extraterrestrial program funded by the American Government.

This British hacker managed to infiltrate at least 97 military computers using a script developed in Perl. What did he find? McKinnon claims to have discovered secret information connected to the development of anti-gravity technology and classified documents about space projects.

The information collected by McKinnon included photographs of extraterrestrial ships and a list entitled "non-terrestrial officers" which, according to the hacker, could be part of a secret American space fleet. He also mentioned the names of two ships that presumably would be part of the same fleet.

As expected, the US government wanted Mckinnon's head, but they failed to extradite him from the United Kingdom thanks to the action of his lawyers.

Mckinnon remains on probation, and his access to the internet is restricted. The intentions of the US government to put him in prison still on.

According to the 2017 Official Annual Cybercrime Report sponsored by Herjavec Group, cybercrime damages will cost $6 trillion by 2021. 

Kevin Mitnick aka "The Condor"

Mitnick is considered not only one of the most famous hackers but one of the most wanted in history. His career began at the age of 13 by using social engineering to obtain confidential information.

Three years later, Mitnick was able to access the computer network of DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) without authorization to copy the software of its operating system.

For this action, he was arrested, imprisoned and placed on probation. However, almost at the end of his sentence, Mitnick went back to hacking. His new victims were the voice mail computers of the Pacific Bell Company.

Mitnick was fugitive for two years. According to US government, in that period The Condor attacked a dozen computer networks.

In these attacks, Mitnick stole the software source code of different companies, intercept passwords and altered computer networks among other things.

Mitnick was arrested again and imprisoned. The fear of the US Government of this hacker was so big that they considered him to be able to unleash a nuclear war by using a telephone to get access to the NORAD modem through whistling, a phone-hacking technique that consists in emitting tones in particular frequencies to link with network machines.

After being released for the second time, Mitnick remained on probation without access to any communication technology.

Mitnick managed to get the conditioning for the use of communication devices removed. Today he runs a security consulting firm that provides training to combat phishing.

most famous hackers
Hacking stopped being a solo activity. Nowadays the most lethal attacks come from hackers organized in teams.  

Albert González aka "Soupnazi"

Also known as the king of phishing, Gonzalez managed to steal information from 170 million bank accounts around the world as well as ATM numbers.

Gonzalez and his team of hackers called Shadow Crew used SQL code to open back doors on various systems and access the ARP Snoofing files of several companies.

Through their website, González and his team auctioned and sold banking information, forged documents that included passports, driver's licenses and databases with hacked email accounts.

Verizon Data Breach Report found out that 30% of phishing messages are opened by users while 12 % of the users are captured by malicious files.

Gonzalez achieved millionaire profits together with his team. After being arrested, he offered his collaboration to the US Secret Service to capture other cybercriminals.

However, he was also condemned for the attacks after his capture without taking into account that those attacks were planned in collaboration with the Government. Since 2008, he is paying a sentence of 20 years in prison. Being one of the most famous hackers doesn´t guarantee a brilliant future in security companies after all.

Evgeny Mikhailovich Bogachev aka "Fantomas"

The FBI has listed Mikhailovich as one of the most dangerous Crackers on the planet. Why? For stealing 100 million dollars from different US banks using a Trojan called GameOver  Zeus.

According to the BBC, the botnet used by Mikhailovich to carry out his thefts is one of the most sophisticated and harmful in history.
Also, Fantomas used that same botnet to expand Cryptolocker, a program designed to extort companies and individuals through the infiltration of their systems and the encryption of their data.

This technique of cyber extortion is known as ransomware and thanks to Cryptolocker its use has increased significantly in recent years.

According to Statista, countries with the highest rate of users attacked by ransomware are Turkey, Vietnam, India, Italy, and Bangladesh.

The reward offered by the FBI for this hacker is 3 million dollars, the highest amount of money ever offered to catch a cyber criminal.

However, Mikhailovich is still enjoying his freedom in Russia, his native country. Because there are no extradition treaties between Russia and the United States, it seems almost impossible for the FBI to capture him in the future.

Robert Tappan Morris

The history of computer viruses started with Tappan Morris. In 1988,  a young hacker recently graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts, developed the Morris Worm, the first self-replicating malware in Internet history.

This worm attacked 6 thousand of the 60 thousand servers connected to the network. Morris was arrested and sentenced to three years of probation, community service and a fine of more than $ 10,000.

Years later, Morris founded Viaweb, the first company that designed an online store. Yahoo became interested in Viaweb and acquired it for 48 million dollars.

Years later, Morris is involved in several academic projects as an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent creation is the Arc programming language but his position as one of the most famous hackers in history still intact. 

Niculae Popescu aka "Nae" or "Stoichitoui"

Maybe Popescu is not as brilliant as other hackers but is one of the biggest cybercriminals. According to the FBI, Popescu and his team are responsible for carrying out a sophisticated fraud on the Internet.

The fraud consisted of placing advertisements in the Internet auction market for the sale of merchandise. The scammers posed as sellers to contact their victims in the United States.

When the sale of the products was in process, Popescu's team tricked their customers with false invoices associated with bank accounts in the United States.

Since 2012, Popescu is wanted by the FBI and a reward of one million dollars is offered for any information that leads to his capture.

Would you include someone more in this list of the most famous hackers? Let us know!

Hackers vs crackers

A hacker's intention to infiltrate a system can have different purposes. For example, so-called ethical hackers often attack companies to expose vulnerabilities in their systems to help them find their weaker points. Other hackers attack as reprisals against organizations they consider unfair.

On the other hand, the so-called Crackers often attack large corporations to extract money from bank accounts or extort their victims. Hackers can act alone or as a team. It all depends on the magnitude of the structures that they want to attack and the techniques they need to use.


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