top of page

Unmasking the Cyber Shadows: 20 Most Wanted Hackers in History

Updated: Mar 7

Over the years we have seen the rise and capture of many hackers since the early days of computers and internet. Below I will explain the 10 most notorious hackers that I like and find interesting, to highlight the importance of cooperation between government, corporate, and security researchers.

1. Kevin Mitnick

One of history's most well-known hacker turned security analyst, Mitnick was known from hacking into computers, telecommunication companies, and government agency's during the 1980's and 1990's. Examples include hacking Nokia, Motorola, and IBM. The government agencies he hacked was the FBI when they were searching for him, and the Department of defense. He was a Master of Social Engineering and engineered ways of gaining entry to these agencies network by manipulating people who worked at the agencies. He served Prison time in 1995 after be caught and was released in 2000. He later became a security Consultant and help businesses developed awareness and prevent being breached. He also advocated for more education on ethical hacking and wrote many books such as "The Art of Deception" and "Ghost in the Wires."

2. Gary McKinnon

I find the backstory of this hacker hilarious, as he claimed to hack NASA and the U.S military and government agencies in search of evidence of the existence of UFO's. Did he end up finding out, we never may know. Gary McKinnon, was also famous for the decade battle of extradition after his arrest in 2002 after he got indicted, as he viewed it as unlawful as he wanted to be tried for his cybercrime in the United Kingdom, instead of the U.S.A. In the end the United Kingdom refused to extradite him on fear of suicide due to his depression, and concerns of his health. This sparked controversy as why government computers are vulnerable, and whether it is ethical to extradite criminals to other countries after committing crimes.

3. Adrian Lamo

This hacker death still remains a victory after it was claimed he was found dead in his apartment, and no signs of foul play. Adrian Lamo also known as the Homeless Hacker due to being on the move and using internet cafes and public libraries for his hacking activities. He is well known for breaking into Yahoo, Microsoft and The New York Times, which he then called up and told them about their security flaws. His most famous act was being a whistleblower when Bradley Manning, a government leaker who leaked thousands of military and government documents on WikiLeaks, confess to him her actions.

4. Kevin Poulsen

Known as Dark Dante as his alias in the 1980's, he was responsible for hacking a Los Angeles radio station, KIIS-FM, to rig a contest to ensure he won the grand prize a Porche. This led to his arrest and three-year restriction from computers, which led him to tun his life around and become a journalist. he wrote about cybersecurity, and technology showing that some black hat hackers can turn their life around after being caught.

5. Albert Gonzalez

Albert Gonzales became known for the biggest data breach between 2005 and 2008. He hacked the processing payments of major retailers such as TJMAXX and Marshalls. He then used the stolen credit card info with his associates to make fraudulent purchases or sell it in the black market. Albert Gonzales was arrest by the United States Secret Service and was sentence to 20 years. His breach helped educate on the importance of security practice on financial infrastructure.

6. Max Ray Vision

hacker known for hacking financial infrastructure and committing identity theft, Max Ray Vision, also known as the Iceman, online, was known for creating the hacker group the Shadow Crew. He also operated Carders Market, a forum where people bought and sold stolen identities, and credit information. This led to his arrest in 2007 by the United States Secret Service. During his prison time he worked with law enforcement to help identify wireless flaws and computer flaws, highlighting the importance of cooperation between security researchers and law enforcement to catch criminals and secure infrastructure, and combatting cyber threats.

7. Jonathan James

Known for being a talented hacker and computer genius at a young age, Jonathan James, also known as c0mrade was known for hacking NASA at the age of only 15. This led him to be the first juvenile to be convicted of cybercrime and sentence to probation after serving six months. Sadly, he died in an apparent suicide at the age of 24 on May 18, 2008.

8. Vladimir Levin

Vladimir Levin was a Russian Hacker who was known for transferring Millions of dollars from hacked Citi Bank accounts. His point of entry for his hacks was in 1994, he then traveled to various countries such as Finland, The United States, United Kingdom, and Israel. He would find vulnerabilities in Citi's online banking system and hack in people's account. He was arrested in United Kingdom after trying to transfer stolen funds. He was extradited to United states and sentence to pay restitution to Citi Bank.

9. Robert Tappan Morris

Do you love computer worms, meet the creator, Robert Tappan Morris. He is well known for creating the first internet worm, the Morris Worm. This was a project he developed, but it did more damage than he anticipated. His worm replicated and to thousands of computers by exploiting Unix based vulnerabilities. This caused internet slowdowns and shutdowns. Robert Morris was identified as the creator and arrested in 1990. He was also the cause of the Computer Emergency Response Team(CERT) to be created.

10. Jeremy Hammond

A political Hacktivist who was known for his involvement with the hacker group Anonymous, Jeremey Hammond was notorious for his hack of the of high-profile government agencies. He was responsible for the breach of Stradfor, an intelligence group in Texas. Claiming to search for government injustice, he embarrassed Stradfor when he and Anonymous leaked millions of emails and other sensitive info such as government agencies, clients, and corporations which led to embarrassment and damage of reputation for Stradfor.

These are 10 examples of the 10 most notorious hacker. These hackers serve as a lesson on why we should focus on ethical hacking in government, and corporations to prevent leaks and infrastructure damage. There should be a cooperation between security researchers and law enforcement to make the internet a safer space. Security researchers shouldn't be shunned for exposing flaws but given the tools and employment opportunities to help better secure companies, and government agencies.

81 views0 comments


bottom of page