Hackers use their prodigious technical skills to gain illegal access to sensitive data. However, it is just a show off of your skills and is not considered illegal till the access is used to gather sensitive data and subsequently use that data in illegal activities. Hackers primarily exploit the vulnerabilities in the system to steal information.
Some hackers have been notoriously famous worldwide not only for their hacking skills but also for the use of the ill-acquired data in illegal activities. These are the most infamous hackers of all times:
10. Gary McKinnon
In 2001, Scotland-born McKinnon used his computer system administration skills to access the systems of the US military. Once he logged into the system, Gary proceeded to delete some important files resulting in damages worth thousands of dollars. The hacker was accused of perpetrating the biggest military hack of all times.
9. Michael Bevan and Richard Pryce
The British duo accessed computers systems of the US Air Force, NASA, and NATO in 1996, moving and deleting files. They nearly brought about a war between the US and North Korea by dumping sensitive data about the nuclear program into USAF.
8. Kevin Mitnick
Mitnick was renowned for breaking into systems of telephone and computer enterprises and modifying the sensitive data within the computer servers. He was also involved in stealing passwords to gain illegal access to emails. Mitnick was ultimately arrested in 1995. Ironically, the famous hacker is now associated with a security firm where he helps to keep the websites safe from hackers.
7. Vladimir Levin
Using his hacking skills, the Russian citizen Levin gained access to the Citibank server and stole $10 million from the accounts. He was ultimately arrested in the UK. Meanwhile, Citibank has recovered only $400,000 of the stolen $10 million.
6. Michael Calce
Calce went by the name of MafiaBoy. A high school student from Quebec Canada, Calce launched a sequence of DDoS attacks on popular websites like Yahoo, FIFA, Dell, Amazon, eBay and CNN. The authorities were left shaken after these attacks and the victims of Calce’s hacks claimed that the damage to systems was about $7 million. The independent analysts estimated a damage of nearly $1 billion if the global economic losses were taken into account.
5. Jeanson James Ancheta
Ancheta gained access to about 500,000 machines to create botnets. Ultimately, the authorities caught up with the ingenious hacker and as a result of a long FBI campaign, Ancheta ended up behind the bars.
4. Adrian Lamo
Lamo was a mobile hacker who attacked computer systems using the public places like internet cafes and coffee shops. Lamo was a bit different from all other hackers discussed so far, as he used his abilities to point the vulnerabilities in the system to the hackers.
Lamo was arrested later for his alleged association to Wikileaks.
3. Owen Walker
Walker used the pseudonym AKILL to carry out attacks on favorite sites and computer systems. The hacker is well known for his Akbot virus, using which he gained access to millions of systems around the world and carried out endless hacking attacks. The damages accumulated by Akbot have been estimated at $26 million.
2. Albert Gonzalez
The Cuban hacker is acclaimed to be the mastermind of the largest theft of credit card and ATM numbers during the mid-2000’s. Albert used illegally accessed user data to carry out transactions worth $200 million.
ASTRA continues to operate under his alias as his real identity is yet to be revealed. The Greek authorities believe him to be a 58-year-old mathematician who hails from Athens. Astra has caused damages amounting to $360 million. His most infamous attacks include the cyber-attack on the French Military body Dassault, whereby he sold off plans for aircrafts and weapons to the other people.