IT Security & Network Security News & Reviews: The World's Top 10 'Groundbreaking' Hackers
Kevin Dark Dante Poulsen
Kevin Poulsen was known as "Dark Dante" within the hacker community. He was best known for hacking phone systems, particularly at radio stations to win various prizes. His biggest prize was the Porsche 944 S2 from Los Angeles KIIS FM in 1990. He is currently a senior editor at Wired News and edits the Threat Level blog.
Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak
The iconic founders of Apple Computer spent their pre-Apple days building Blue Box devices that allowed users to illegally make free long distance calls and selling them to fellow students at the University of California, Berkeley.
Robert Tappan Morris
Robert Tappan Morris reputedly brought down a tenth of the Internet and caused $15 million worth of damage in 1998 with his "Morris" worm. Authorities caught him because he had publicly chatted about the work for months before actually releasing it. He is currently a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
George GeoHot Hotz
One of the first hackers to jailbreak the PlayStation 3, George "GeoHot" Hotz was sued by Sony for releasing and distributing his jailbreaking tool. Sony settled the lawsuit, and Hotz is no longer allowed to jailbreak Sony devices.
David Smith's Melissa virus mass-mails itself using Microsoft Outlook 97 or 98 and infects Microsoft Word and Excel 97 and 2000 documents. Created in 1999, the virus overloaded computer systems and servers around the world. To this day, Smith is the only person in the United States to go to federal prison for sending an email virus.
Once considered the most-wanted cyber-criminal in the United States, Kevin Mitnick is the "poster child" of computer hacking. He hacked multiple computer and phone networks over the years, prompting law enforcement to tell a judge he had the ability to "start a nuclear war by whistling into a pay phone." Mitnick has been arrested and incarcerated several times.
Jonathan Joseph c0mrade James
Jonathan James specialized in hacking high-profile government systems such as NASA and the Department of Defense, and is reported to have stolen software worth over $1.7 million. He installed an unauthorized backdoor and a sniffer in a server that allowed him to intercept messages and login credentials. At 16, he was the first juvenile to be sent to jail for computer hacking.
From his laptop in his St. Petersburg, Russia, apartment in 1994, Vladimir Levin transferred $10.7 million from Citibank clients to his own bank accounts. Authorities eventually recovered all but $400,000 of the stolen money.
Michael MafiaBoy Calce
"MafiaBoy" was arrested in February 2000 for launching denial-of-service attacks against some of the largest sites on the Internet, including Amazon, eBay, CNN, Dell and Yahoo, in the space of a week. Widely believed to be a "script kiddie" who used tools created by others, the Canadian teenager called his attacks against the sites "Rivolta," the Italian word for riot.
Gary McKinnon allegedly accessed 97 computers belonging to the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and NASA in 2002, causing $700,000 in damage. The attack is considered the largest ever on U.S. government networks. McKinnon claimed he was just searching for information on UFOs that the government was hiding on military computers.