- Super User
- Category: Entertainment
- Friday, 13 February 2015 14:14
See photos of the world's most dangerous hackers ever and their stories...
Thanks to a few prominent attacks, the word "hacker" has likely shown up in your news feed pretty often in the last year. And it's likely to pop up a lot more.
Hackers can target bank information, PIN numbers, passwords—like they did with Target and other retail giants—but they also can stroke mayhem by shutting down a widely-used site or service.
There's others types of sensitive information that can also be targeted: last yearHollywood celebrities had their iCloud accounts hacked, and their nude photos were released to the public. Additionally,
Sony's emails and other documents were leaked, allegedly by hackers from North Korea. These types of attacks were done by "Black hat" hackers. Why the nickname?
Because not all hackers are in it for the destruction. "Black hat" hackers hack to exploit data, "White hat" hackers hack to make systems more secure (and make money legally), and "Grey hat" hackers fall somewhere in between. The ones that make the 5 o'clock news are likely going to be black hat.
Here are 15 of the most dangerously skilled hackers to have taunted governments, brought down websites, and made millions for themselves—before finally getting caught.
1. Adrian Lamo
Image above: Adrian Lamo. Credit: IB Times
Alias: The Homeless Hacker
Adrian Lamo gained recognition by breaking into the computer networks of The New York Times, Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft before he was arrested in 2003.
He was known as the "Homeless Hacker" because of his habit of using coffee shops and libraries as his command centers.
His hacking caught up to him when he attacked the Times in 2002, gaining access to the personal information of people who've written for the paper, and adding his name to their database of expert sources.
After a 15-month investigation by prosecutors, a warrant was placed for his arrest and Lamo surrendered in California. He negotiated a plea bargain that gave him six months of house arrest, and he avoided serving jail time.
His life after this point hasn't been pretty. He was accused of using a gun on a girlfriend, and was placed in a psychiatric hold in an unrelated incident and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.
But the biggest controversy of all is that Lamo was the one who reported Chelsea Manning to U.S. authorities after she leaked hundreds of thousands of government documents.
His nickname amongst hackers after that was "snitch."
2. Jeanson James Ancheta
(Image above: Jeanson James Ancheta. Credit: The Register)
The California native became the first hacker to be charged with controlling an army of hijacked computers—called botnets—to send large quantities of spam across the Internet.
He used the worm "rxbot" in 2004 to take control of 500,000 computers (which included U.S. military computers) and used their combined strength to take down major sites.
He then put out ads for his services, and offered clients the opportunity to take down any website they wanted, for a price. Ancheta was caught in 2005 when one of his clients turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
He had to give up the $58,000 he made from hacking, pay back $16,000, give up his BMW, and serve 60 months in prison.
The hacker known as "ASTRA" was never publicly identified, but is said to have been a 58-year-old mathematician when he was arrested in 2008.
Greek authorities said that he hacked into the systems of the aviation company, Dassault Group, for about half a decade.
In that time, he stole weapons technology information about the company's jet fighters and other military aircraft, and sold it to different countries.
It's said that he sold this data to nearly 250 people in the Middle East, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, and South Africa, all for $1,000 a pop. The damages to Dassault amounted to more than $360 million.
3. Owen Thor Walker
In 2008, 18-year-old Owen Thor Walker pleaded guilty to six charges of cyber crime.
He led an international hacker network that broke into 1.3 million computers, and infiltrated bank accounts to take more than $20 million.
He was only 17 when the thefts began, but because he was homeschooled starting at 13, this left him time to learn programming and encryption.
Overall he only made $32,000 from his hacking efforts, since he only wrote the code that the other members in the network used to steal the money.
He pleaded guilty, wasn't convicted, and only had to payback $11,000. He's now advising companies on online security.
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