Hacking Spree: The Most Notorious Hackers of All-Time

Yfran Garcia

January 18, 2012

Hacking Spree: The Most Notorious Hackers of All-Time

Hackers all over the world are on a mission.

Although hacking can be used for a good cause, recent news has indicated that hackers of today are out to send a message - and whether they're angry or just bored, these villains are causing quite a stir.

The Rise of Anonymous

With the rise of ‘Anonymous', a group of hackers who aim to promote internet freedom and free speech through unconventional means, and shoe retailer Zappos being the latest victim of a cyber-attack that exposed customers' personal information, it's safe to say that this won't be the last we hear about hackers and their victims.

With that being said, we take a look back through history for some of the most notorious hackers of all-time.

Vladimir Levin and Citibank

Vladimir Levin became notorious after hacking into Citibank's customer database and acquiring the bank account numbers of the financial institution's biggest corporate clients. A biochemistry graduate from the University of St. Petersburg, Levin and his team transferred $3.7 million to different accounts in 1995. This went down as the first publicized international bank robbery.

Jonathan James and NASA

Jonathan James was only 15 when he hacked his way to fame. James had broken into military databases via a ‘backdoor' he created and he also stole NASA software worth $1.7 million. The hacker said that his actions were meant to be ‘fun', but the court sentenced James to six months in juvenile detention, making him the first juvenile hacker to ever serve time.

Gary McKinnon and NASA

NASA was the victim yet again as Scottish systems administrator, Gary McKinnon, was accused of hacking into the space giant's systems. The action was said to cause damage worth up to $700,000. Although McKinnon claims he was only looking for evidence of UFOs, a U.S. prosecutor claims this was the "biggest military hack of all time." Gary McKinnon is still currently on trial.

David L. Smith and the Melissa Virus

David L. Smith found fame by creating the ‘Melissa Virus.' The virus, which was named after a stripper, was introduced into a word document known as "list.doc". When opened, the virus sent out an e-mail to the infected user's outlook address book. The virus has caused over $400 million in damages and Smith has since pleaded guilty.

Anonymous

What makes ‘Anonymous' a group to be feared is that they are still around - sending their message loud and clear today. 'Anonymous' was credited with temporarily shutting down Sony's Playstation 3 network in response to Sony's lawsuit against ‘GeoHot.' Since then, the group has moved on to bigger and better targets including security agencies. The group was said to be planning a shutdown of Facebook but an update indicated otherwise. Unlike other malicious hackers, 'Anonymou's claims it is using their hacking efforts as an unconventional means to ‘do good.' The mysterious group tried to prove this point by releasing a membership database of active pedophiles. ‘Anonymous' still has a list of targets and companies are fearing they could be next.

As we are still fresh into the New Year, internet security systems for businesses and corporations seem to be easy (for hackers) to infiltrate. Although we cannot predict the future, as long as groups such as ‘Anonymous' are around, we can be certain hackers will march on throughout 2012.

Yfran Garcia

Yfran Garcia

January 18, 2012

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