Black-hat hackers are defined as cybercriminals who hack unauthorized information and spy on other people’s data for their bad intentions. However, some hackers don’t do it for their own benefits but for social justice (as they say). In this article, I’m going to list the top 10 black-hat hackers who made a lot of headlines in the news and now running big companies.
Top Black-Hat Hackers
Kevin Mitnick was once the most wanted cybercriminal in the world. He had an obsession with computers that escalated into a two and half year hacking spree where he stole millions of dollars of corporate secrets from IBM, Motorola, telecom companies, and even the National Defense warning system. He was caught twice in jail twice for his crimes, but now he is a computer security consultant.
Vladimir Leonidovich Levin is a Russian Hacker of genius proportions. In 1994 while working with a dial-up connection and a laptop from Saint Petersburg, Apartment he accessed the accounts of several large corporate customers of Citibank stealing USD 10.7 million. He ended up spending three years in jail. However, in 2005, an anonymous hacker group came claiming that they were the ones truly responsible for the theft and that they only sold Vladimir the data needed to steal the money.
In 1996, Mathew Bevan and Richard Pierce were 21 and 17 respectively, when they broke into military computers. They didn’t only hack into US military computers, but the officials thought they might have also hacked into North Korean Systems as well. These people have the unique distinction of saying that they almost started a war.
Michael Calce, a Canadian Hacker was responsible for a series of high-profile cyberattacks in 2000. Project Rivolta a project name he called it meaning riot in Italian was a distributed denial-of-service attack that took down major websites Yahoo, FIFA, Amazon, eBay, CNN, and Dell among others. He was caught after bragging about the attacks in an IRC chat room for which he got eight months in jail. Why such a short sentence? Michael was only in high school at the time.
5. Adrian Lamo
Adrian Lamo was best-known for hacking into major cooperations like Yahoo, Bank of America, Citigroup, The New York Times, and Microsoft but the way he did it made him famous. He used public internet connections like libraries and coffee shops to hack into major sites. Because of that style, he was named as ‘Homeless Hacker. In 2004, after being caught he was given six months of house arrest in order to pay $65,000 in restitution.
Jeanson James Ancheta has been the first hacker ever to create a botnet a group that hijacked computers that work together as a legal means. In 2004, he started to work with botnets robot, a computer worm that can spread his net of infected computers which gave him control to 500,000 computers including US military computers. He was forced to give up his BMW, pay more than $58,000, and serve 60 months in prison.
Gary Mckinnon a.ka Solo is a Scottish hacker who masterminded the largest military computer hack of all time. He hacked into 97 US armed forces and NASA computers between 2001 and 2002within a period of just 24 hours he deleted critical files including weapon logs. In total the damage that his hacking cost the government an estimated $ 700,000.
8. Owen Walker
Owen Walker a.ka AKILL was only 17 when he let in an international hacking group that causes over 26 million dollars in damages. The school teenager was responsible for creating the Bot virus which spread into 1.3 million computers around the world crashing them. Even though he was caught despite all the damage he was released without being convicted.
The hacker named Astra, whose real name was never revealed was a 58-year-old Geek Mathematician, who was operated on between 2002 and 2008 during that five-year period. He stole weapons technology data in 3D modeling software from a company called the Salt Group, which he sold up to USD 361 million to buyers all around the world. He was tracked down in an apartment in Athens, Greece.
10. Albert Gonzalez
Albert Gonzalez, over a two-year period he stole a total of 175 million credit card numbers selling them online. A massive yet undisclosed amount of money was stolen from his victims through identity theft, leaving them to battle to restore the credit ratings and get their money back. He was sentenced to 40 years in jail.
PS: There were a lot more hackers out there but these guys couldn’t hide themselves