As the computer generation continues to evolve, cybersecurity continued to be rendered vulnerable too. Despite the strict measures put in place to protect computers and their users, a bunch of brilliant computer wizards continues to use their genius brains to tap into the loopholes in computers. Hacking dates back to 1960s when genius and expert tech gurus used their exceptional computer skills to program all day all time. Back then, the term hacking meant someone who would come to rescue and solve bugs on computers. The society never minded these hackers. It was until 1979 when a teenager went overboard with his hacking skills and intruded into the Digital Equipment Corporation systems raising eyebrows in the security system. Ideally, the word hacking or hacker was intended to refer to someone who had top-notch computer skills and would help invent and or fix computer programs.
In the current generation, the term has been widely used to refer to computer criminals that get access to computer systems illegally and temper with data and information to their advantage. Society has come to learn that there are ethical hackers and bad ones. Hackers who work hard to ensure computer security and safety of data are hailed as white hackers. Hackers who gain access to computer systems to perform fraudulent activities are referred to as Black Hackers. Lastly, this other group who intrude platforms to pass the time and boast of how they can do magic to computer systems and are referred to gray hackers. With that being said, below are the top best and most notorious hackers the world has ever known.
1 Loyd Blankenship
Loyd is one of the world’s top most wanted hackers. Born in 1965, Loyd Blankenship is famously known by the pseudonym ‘The Mentor’. His hacking activities started way back in 1970 at the age of 16. During his teenage life, he lived an extraordinary one. He found friends among computers and couldn’t associate with his high school friends. During those days computers and modems were only accessible to the rich, and so Loyd had the privilege of accessing one. Blankenship’s hacking troubles began in 1990 when the U.S. secret service took hold of a manuscript he had written. The secret service had forced an entrance into his home Austin, Texas after reports that he accessed a computer illegally.
During the 1970s, Loyd joined and became a member of various notorious hacking groups like the Legion of Doom and Ecstasy Elite. The numerous bursting and jailing of hackers prompted Loyd to write an essay dubbed “Conscience of a Hacker,” which was published in 1986. The piece has since become a center of interest for decades, especially to the newbie hackers. He later changed the title to “The Hacker Manifesto.” Through the essay, Loyd wanted to tell the world that hackers are not criminals but genius fellows who had Insatiable appetite for knowledge on matters computer. Loyd gave tried his hands on another career path, and he is the lead product research and design specialist at MacAfee.
2 Robert Tappan Morris
Born on November 8, 1965, to Robert Morris and Ann Farlow Morris, Robert Tappan Morris is another super intelligent hacker of all time. His father Robert Morris was a supercomputer wizard at Bells Lab who are said to be the brains behind Multix and UNIX. Robert, for sure, got the genius brains from his father who in his late stages in his career, became a computer scientist working at the National Security Center (NSA). Morris went to Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey and graduated. He later joined Harvard University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts. In 1988, Morris raised security’s eyebrows when he invented the deadly computer worm that destroyed an estimated 6,000 computers in the United States. According to Clifford Stoll, who came to rescue and fought Morris’s Worm, 2,000 of these computers were affected and became useless within fifteen minutes after Morris had released the worm.
Morris had no intentions of causing massive computer damage. He designed what would later be a deadly system to help identify loopholes and estimate the size of the internet. Morris released the worm to internet-connected computers. He designed the program such that it could launch itself on a computer system without requesting permission from the administrator. The program went on and launched itself several times than the intended. On realizing the mistake, Morris tried his best to salvage the situation, but it was too late. This ingenuity caused Morris probation of three years, serving the community for 400hours and a hefty penalty of $10,050. He was the first fellow to face the full wrath of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of the United States Code title eighteen. Morris is the brain behind “Viaweb” system that was developed to enable internet users to run a self-hosted website store. Viaweb was later sold to Yahoo. Currently, Morris is a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member and partner to Y Combinator and an entrepreneur. His internet worm source code has been put on display at the Computer History Museum.
3 Garry McKinnon
One weird thing about hackers is their use of pseudonyms. Garry McKinnon used a pseudonym (Solo). He is one of the greatest hackers of all time. Garry is a Scottish hacker who was born on February 10, 1966, in Glasgow, Scotland. Garry developed his interest in computers at an early age. At fourteen years of age, Garry acquired his first computer. He was never a book savvy and dropped school to become a hairdresser. Garry’s hacking thirst started in the early 1990s when he was convinced by friends to take his computer skills a top-notch higher. He enrolled in computer classes and got a certificate.
His hacking skills went down history when he gained access to the United States Military and NASA computers between the year 2001 and 2002. He was intrigued by NASA’s Unidentified Flying Objects and wanted answers. He hacked the military, army, and naval computers in the United States during the deadly September 11 attacks period raising more eyebrows and questions whether he was affiliated to the terrorist group. The estimated cost of damage caused by Garry on U.S. computers was $700,000. He was arrested and questioned by the police on March 19, 2002. He was saved from extradition by Theresa May citing Garry’s health status.
4 Kevin Poulsen
The notorious black hat hacker was born Kevin Lee Poulsen on November 30, 1965, in California, United States. Like the other hackers, Lee developed an interest in computers at an earl y age. At age seventeen Poulsen hacked into the Department of Defense systems in the United States using his TRS computer. He walked scot-free for this. After the United Defense hacking incidence, Paulsen developed more urge to use his skills and tap to the loopholes in the computer systems. In 1988, Kevin became a suspect for hacking the federal department database that had information about Ferdinand Marcos. He went on the run when he realized that the security was after his hacking life.
His famous hacking job was in 1990 when he forcefully hacked his way into luck. He rendered KIIS Radio station phone calls useless by tampering with the phone lines. He wanted to be the 102nd caller who had been marked by the radio station for an award. The public captured Kevin in a supermarket and handed him over to the police. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for false money laundering and telephone fraud. He was released but on condition that he was not to touch computers and internet for three years. He has reformed, and he is the founder and editor of WIRED.
5 Albert Gonzales
Albert is one of the famous black hatters who were a pain in the neck to the security for a long time. He was born in 1982. The Miami Highs school student had his brains at work into the NASA systems at the age of 14. He acquired his first computer at the age of twelve. That became the genesis of his hacking skills. He moved to Kearny where his hacking activities picked up, and he is thought to have been an affiliate to a group of hackers called Shadow Grew group.
This group is well known for cracking 1.5 million credit cards and ATM card numbers. Albert Gonzales is believed to have been the brains behind the cracking of TJX companies walking away with credit cards and ATM card numbers worth 45.6 million in numbers. On May 7, 2008, Albert’s hacking career came to an end when the police arrested him following a hack that happened to Dave and Buster’s systems. He is currently in jail serving a 20-year sentence.
6 Kevin Mitnick
Kevin Mitnick is also another notorious black hat hacker who caused problems as early as at age 12. He was born Kevin David Mitnick on August 6, 1963, in California. His curiosity and thirst for answers from computers started when he was twelve years old. He wanted free bus rides, and so he convinced the bus driver to give him information on where he could get a ticket punch. At age 16 in 1979, Kevin had his hands on cracking computers. He invaded the Digital Equipment Corporation systems unauthorized.
In 1988, he was arrested and sentenced to twelve months in prison. He was later released and put on a watch list for three years. His hacking urge couldn’t hold long; he went back to hacking and within the three years, he was on a watch list. He hid his IP address and found his way to different computer systems unauthorized. He was arrested and convicted on February 5, 1995. He walked his way to freedom on January 21, 2000, but again under a security watch. He’s reformed, and he is currently a security consultant for Fortune 500 companies and FBI.
7 Jonathan James
Jonathan is another notorious hacker who was involved in hacking various computer systems in the United States. He was born on December 12, 1983, as Jonathan Joseph James in South Florida. As a curious and extraordinary kid, James developed an interest in computers at the age of twelve. He committed his first cyberattack at the age of fifteen when he hacked into the school systems of Bellsouth and Miami Dade School.
He sought attention from the FBI when he gained unauthorized access to Defense Threat Reduction Agency computer systems and intercepted crucial employees information, including passwords and usernames. He also gained access into NASA computers systems and rendered them useless, costing NASA a whopping $41,000 in damages. He was put on in-house arrest on September 21, 2000, due to his tender age. James took away his life on May 18, 2008, on fears that he would be charged for a crime he did not do. He left a suicidal note saying that he had no belief in the U.S. justice system.
8 Alexsey Belan
He is the notorious Russian hacker who was a pain in the neck to the FBI for a long time. Belan was born in the year in 1987 in Riga Latvia. He hit the headlines in 2013 and 2014 for getting unauthorized access to various firm’s computer systems in the United States and compromising crucial information. Alexsey Belan was affiliated to different hacking groups including M4G, Magg, Fedyunya, and Quaker. He was indicted in 2012 for hacking Amazon. On March 15, 2017, he was listed as the most wanted by the FBI, and a bounty of $100,000 was put on his head.
9 Julian Assange
He is another most wanted black hatter ever in history. He was born on July 3, 1971, in Queensland. Like the other notorious hackers, Assange brewed his computer interests at an early age. He used the pseudonym Mandax and him, and two other hackers formed a hacker group. They named the group “The International Subversives.” Julian Assange is alleged to have cracked NASA systems using Worms Against Nuclear Killers. However, he’s denied these allegations. He also hacked into a telecommunication corporation by the name Nortel. Assange is currently serving a sentence of fifty weeks for disobeying court orders.
10 Guccifer 2.0
Guccifer 2.0 is a mysterious black hat hacker. No one knows if Guccifer 2.0 is a person or a group of witty hackers. The indictment in 2018, suspects that the group is likely to be operated by the Russia Military Intelligence. The identity of Guccifer is surrounded by mystery. However, he was once interviewed by VICE, and he claimed that he is a Romanian and not a Russian. Guccifer 2.0 has been linked to various cybercrimes including the system hack and leaking of Democratic National Committee emails.