10. Mathew Bevan and Richard Pryce
In the 1990s, two teenage hackers named Mathew Bevan and Richard Pryce broke into what was supposed to be the most secure defense network in the world. This British hacking pair took advantage of the United States government in 1994 by attacking the web of the Pentagon for several weeks. The attack lasted for several weeks. They did this in their leisure time from the comfort of their beds. These two individuals collaborated to get into the computer networks used by the United States military and obtain access to other countries’ systems. They successfully transferred the information from the Korean Atomic Research Institute into the method the United States Air Force used. It turned out that the data belonged to South Korea, so it wasn’t a significant concern at all, but it easily could have led to a disaster on an international scale.
9. Jeanson James Ancheta
Jeanson James Ancheta had no interest in breaking into computer systems to steal credit card information or bring down computer networks. Instead, Ancheta was interested in using bots, which are software-based robots that can infiltrate and eventually manipulate computer systems. In 2005, he successfully breached the security of over 400,000 computers by utilising several large-scale “botnets.” After that, he reportedly rented these PCs out to advertising organisations and was allegedly paid to install bots or adware on specific systems actively. Ancheta was handed a jail term of 57 months. This was the first time a hacker was sent behind bars for the illegal use of botnet technology.
8. Gottfrid Svartholm
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, better known by his online handle Anakata, is a Swedish computer professional born on October 17, 1984. He is best known as a former co-owner of the web hosting firm PRQ and co-founder of the BitTorrent website. On November 27, 2013, he was extradited to Denmark, where he was accused of entering the Danish social security database, the driver’s license database, and the shared IT system used in the Schengen zone. After serving time in many prisons across Sweden and Denmark for three years, he is now back to working in IT.
Over five years, ASTRA, a mathematician from Greece, hacked into the computer systems of the French company Dassault Group. He stole data on weapons technology and 3D modeling software, which he sold to at least 250 individuals in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and the Middle East. Dassault, who had every right to be angry, launched a worldwide quest and eventually located ASTRA living in an apartment in Athens. It is not entirely sure, but it is estimated that the losses he inflicted were between $250 and $361 million. ASTRA was apprehended in January 2008 and is serving six years in prison.
6. Jonathan James
Jonathan James at the age of 15, was the first adolescent in the United States to be convicted of hacking and sentenced to jail for the offence. He was also known as “comrade”. In 1999, James broke into the computer systems of many businesses, including Bell South, the Miami-Dade school system, and the Department of Defense. He could access sensitive data, such as the source code used to run the International Space Station (ISS). As a result, NASA was compelled to shut down its computer systems and incurred a $41,000 loss.
5. Kevin Poulsen
Kevin Poulsen is infamous for breaking into the systems of the telephone company in the early 1990s to win phone-in contests on local radio stations. He won a Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet by snatching up all the phone lines connecting to LA radio stations. As the FBI closed in on him, Poulsen had to go into hiding. After 18 months on the run, he was captured in April 1991, thanks partly to airtime on NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries. He admitted guilt for computer fraud and did little over five years in jail. It was the longest sentence ever handed down in the United States for computer hacking.
4. Albert Gonzalez
American computer hacker Albert Gonzalez born in 1981, is suspected of being behind the theft and resale of 170 million credit card and ATM information between 2005 and 2007. In the most significant instance of credit card fraud, he was given a maximum term of twenty years in federal prison. The method of credit card fraud and infiltration was sophisticated enough that the criminals could utilise SQL to install malware into the companies’ networks and collect sensitive information.
3. Adrian Lamo
Adrian Lamo was a hacker who used novel approaches to get companies to reevaluate the level of security they had implemented. Adrian was very controversial in the hacking world for several reasons, including the fact that he fell his way into some of the most renowned organisations. In 2002, he gained access to the internal network of the famous newspaper ‘The New York Times,’ where he then decided to have some fun with his newfound knowledge. He successfully obtained administrative credentials for himself and acquired access to a database that contained the information of more than 3000 people who contributed to the publication. After pleading guilty in 2004, Adrian was sentenced to a fine, six months of home detention, and two years of probation. In 2003, the FBI issued a warrant for Adrian’s arrest; in 2004, he was arrested.
2. Gary McKinnon
The British hacker Gary McKinnon has been dubbed the most dangerous hacker in history and also popularly known as Anonymous. In 2003, Anonymous began its beginnings on an unknown topic on the message boards of the website 4chan. Between February 2001 and March 2002, Gary McKinnon broke into almost 100 servers belonging to the United States military and NASA. Even more incredible is the fact that he accomplished all of this while living in London with the aunt of his fiancée. He successfully erased essential data, software, and files, and as a result, the United States government incurred over 700,000 dollars to repair the damage.
1. Kevin Mitnick
Born in 1963, Kevin Mitnik has an impressive resume. Even before the term “social engineering” was coined, he began using it at the age of 12. By the time he was 16, Kevin Mitnick had hacked into DEC’s internal network (Digital Equipment Corporation). This DEC machine was instrumental in creating an early operating system for 16-bit minicomputers. Kevin Mitnick took a copy of everything on the system but didn’t do anything destructive with the information. However, in 1988, Kevin Mitnick was found guilty and given a year-long jail term. He served a three-year term of supervised release upon his release from jail. When 1992 rolled along, Mitnick was the most wanted hacker in America.