Hackers have been born as by the birth of technology and computers, whose work to find out a loophole in the computer system and exploit it to their benefit. This can damage us in many ways like money loss, confidential information loss, passwords and other personal data. Not all hackers are bad though, some are good and try to protect us where as some are not so kind. Here we’re talking about the top 5 most dangerous hackers of all time who made chaos.
Top 5 Most Dangerous Hackers
Listed down the top 5 most dangerous hackers of all time who have caused the maximum amount of damage to personal data and have raised big question marks with regards to internet and computer security.
1. Kevin Mitnick
Kevin Mitnick is one of the top 5 most dangerous hackers. He’s a great computer geek of all time. His story is quite similar to Hollywood movies where hackers do insane things on their computers and security agencies keep them chasing. At the time of his arrest, he was the most wanted person in relation to computer crimes.
His first brush with hacking came about when he learnt the concept of social engineering and learnt of a system to bypass the punch card system on the L.A. bus. At the age of 16, he hacked into various computer systems and copying softwars, an allegation for which he was charged 9 years later in 1988. Having made to serve twelve months in prison and three years of supervised release, Mitnick continued to hack into various systems for which fresh charges were framed against him. Mitnick fled and was on the run for more than two and a half years using cloned cell phones to hide his location. Mitnick was finally arrested in 1995 and sent to prison for 4 years in 1999.
Mitnick’s conviction gained a lot of media coverage and controversies. His prison term was in solitary confinement after the judge was convinced that Mitnick can start a nuclear war simply by whistling into a telephone system to activate NORAD’s codes. His conviction has also been blamed by over-exaggeration by the media on his capabilities and misinformation of what computers are capable of doing.
After release, Mitnick now runs an IT security company called Mitnick Security Consulting LLC that helps companies prevent hackers from infiltrating their system. He is also an advisory member and on the board for many IT and security companies.
2. Jonathan James
Jonathan James has been credited second of top 5 most dangerous hackers, to be incarcerated for cybercime in the United States. He was aged 16, when charged with hacking into the computer systems of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the Department of Defense. He installed a backdoor into the DTRA server that allowed him access to all forms of communication in and out of the computer system and numerous usernames and passwords. He also hacked in the NASA systems and stole software that controlled essential life sustaining equipment on-board space ships.
James was later traced and arrested but since he was a minor, faced six months of house arrest, probation till he turned 18, made to apologise to all the departments that he hacked into and was banned from using a computer for recreational use.
In 2007, when the departmental store, TJX reported a hack into their computer system and a compromise of sensitive customer information, the Secret Service include Jonthan’s name in the list of those believed to be a part of the act. Although no evidence was found against Jonathan, he was still not dropped from the list of suspects which led him to ultimately kill himself in 2008. His suicide is believed to be caused due to tall the mental pressure he was being made to undertake for a crime he believed he was never involved in.
3. Adrian Lamo
Adrian Lamo first gained attention when he managed to hack into the systems of many high-profile companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, The New York Times and many others. When Lamo was arrested for breaking into their systems unauthorized, he claimed that he has done these companies a favor by highlighting the loopholes in their system and has actually saved them a lot of money. Lamo serving a 6-month detention term and was made to paid $65,000 in fine for his acts.
In 2009, Lamo once again came in the news for his alleged role in Wikileaks and his role in helping donate sensitive material to the website. Lamo later uncovered the role of a U.S. Soldier PFC Bradley Manning who has been misusing his role to collect classified data and selling it to Wikileaks. Adrian has claimed he has done so because many lives were in danger since Manning was active on-duty when he did this. Lamo has ever since been keeping a low profile and fears for his life after the Manning episode.
4. Gary McKinnon
Gary McKinnon has been labeled by the media for carrying out the biggest computer hack of all time and being one of the most dangerous computer hackers in the world. He has been credited with carrying out the biggest and most dangerous attack on the U.S. military computer servers and deleting vital information, softwares, data and files over a period of 1 year whilst sitting in London. His actions have costed the U.S. government more $70,000 for undoing whatever McKinnon had done. His act had left thousands of computers inoperable for a period of 24 hours. McKinnon argues that he carried out this activity to uncover information that the U.S. government may be hiding from the general public like technology and the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life.
Investigation against McKinnon started in the year of 2002 with the U.S. government demanding an extradition. McKinnon and his lawyers have long countered the extradition to the U.S citing the possibility of inhumane conditions in America, health grounds and stating the lack of necessity to face trial in the U.S. The debate of whether or not McKinnon should be extradited to the U.S. is still raging in the British parliament with the likelihood of his trial taking place within the UK.
5. Kevin Dark Dante Poulsen
Kevin Poulsen has two attributes that make him stand out from the rest of the hackers. He was the first American who was made to serve an internet and computer ban after being released from prison and was had gained a specialty in hacking only through telephone lines. He first gained attention when he hacked into an L.A. radio network so that he could be the 102nd caller and would win a new Porsche. He had also reactivated all old Yellow Page escort service phone numbers so that his friend could operate a virtual escort service. When his name once came up in a TV show called Unsolved Mysteries, the 1-800 numbers of the TV station mysteriously crashed.
After being released from Prison, Kevin decided to put away his past and instead became a journalist.
That’s all the top 5 most dangerous hackers of all time. There may be more in the coming future but til now they have been made the most damage by hacking and been a reason for confidential information loss.