Hacking the Pentagon, being hunted by Interpol, amassing a fortune with fake auctions… These are the ten most famous hackers in the world and their most notorious exploits in the cybercrime Olympus.
Stigmatized, persecuted, revered or admired since the appearance of new fiction proposals such as the Mr Robot series, hackers have always been in the spotlight, tinged with an aura of mystery that arouses the curiosity of those interested in the ins and outs of the world of cybercrime. Despite the fact that there are millions throughout the planet, responsible for dangerous cyberattacks, theft of money or blockades of large companies, there are certain names that shine with capital letters.
Ethical hackers: targeting companies to detect their black spots
If in the universe of malware there are viruses that have gone down in the annals of history, also in the world of organized cyberattacks some personalities stand out who achieved feats such as hacking the CIA or the FBI, stealing millions of bank accounts or entering the bowels of big corporations and brands like Yahoo, Nokia or eBay. Interestingly, some of them have gone to the good side and work in cybersecurity consulting for companies, while some continue to search and capture, hidden behind the anonymity of the screens.
It should be noted that although they are still popularly known as hackers, the most correct term is cracker, since even the RAE recently changed the meanings of this word. Thus, currently the word hacker designates that “person who is an expert in computer management, who deals with the security of systems and developing improvement techniques.”
If you want to know the ten most famous hackers in history, do not stop reading.
The 10 most famous hackers in the world
- “Cracka”: Debtor of previous known hackers, we start with the most recent famous cybercriminal. In 2016, this British teenager nicknamed Cracka and belonging to a group called “Crackas with Attitude”, defender of the Palestinian Movement, was arrested for hacking the CIA and the White House. At only 16 years old, he managed to hack into the personal emails of the Director of the CIA, the Director of the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence. The latter also hacked their phone accounts and revealed the identity of 31,000 agents of the United States government.
- Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev: Also nicknamed Fantomas, he is the cybercriminal for whose capture the FBI offers a reward of up to three million dollars since last year. The crime that this cracker is accused of is the theft of 100 million dollars from US bank accounts. He is credited with creating the Game Over Zeus virus, which has infected more than a million computers around the world, and CryptoLocker, a file encryption system used to extract ransom payments in cyber extortion strategies.
- Nicolae Popescu: This is another of the most wanted cybercriminals on the planet, the head of a global scam plot that operated by implanting false ads on auction websites that never reached the winners. The US FBI offers a million dollars for him, and despite the fact that they dismantled his gang in a macro operation in 2012 – with money, weapons and luxury vehicles involved – Popescu remains unaccounted for today.
- Kevin Mitnick: When it comes to cybercrime heavyweights, Mitnick’s name resonates across generations. This American hacker was nicknamed ‘El Condor’ and became “the most wanted computer criminal in history” in the 1980s by the US Department of Justice. Among his “feats”, he managed to access the ultra-protected systems of companies such as Nokia and Motorola. His story ended in arrest, perpetrated in 1995, being sentenced to five years in prison after a slow judicial process. Released in 2002, today he is an author and speaker, works as a security consultant for various companies, gives cybersecurity talks in forums around the globe, and runs his own security consulting company: Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC.
- Ourmine: To cite a strictly current group and one of the most feared in current times, to this group of supposedly three crackers they attribute thousands of theft of profiles on social networks, and the income of half a million dollars in a few months through the extortion of victims. From Ourmine they would have tried to extort the CEOs of Facebook, Google or Twitter, as well as other celebrities such as the well-known youtuber El Rubius. They even managed to access Julian Assange’s website! In some attacks the members of have ensured that their actions are aimed at raising awareness among users and educating them about online protection.
- Adrian Lamo: A native of Boston, he became known as the ‘vagabond hacker’ since he traveled to various points with Internet access such as cybercafes to carry out his attacks “in various jurisdictions” and exposing himself as little as possible. Broke into high-security computer networks, spotting bugs in The New York Times, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Fortune 500 and Bank of America. He also reported Chelsea Manning, the soldier who allegedly leaked to WikiLeaks the video showing US soldiers killing a Reuters photographer and other civilians in Afghanistan, along with various classified US military documents showing criminal attitudes. For stealing information from the New York Times, Lamo was sentenced to six months of house arrest. Currently, he works as a journalist.
- Vladimir Levin: Known for being an expert in the art of stealing money, in the mid-1990s Levin was able to get himself, from his flat in St. Petersburg, with 10 ten million dollars stolen from the clients of the Citibank bank. Once captured, he had to return the money and serve three years in prison, in addition to a financial fine of a quarter of a million dollars.
- Alexsey Belan: This young Russian in his thirties is the third most wanted cybercriminal in the United States. Your crime? Hack the systems of the three largest e-commerce companies in the world, as well as steal and sell databases with sensitive information to millions of users to other hackers in the world. He is currently in search and capture, his footsteps have been followed through Eastern Europe, the Maldives and Southeast Asia. The reward offered by Belan is $ 100,000.
- Michael Calce: Another teenager turned top-notch cracker. On Valentine’s Day 2000, at just 15 years old, he launched an attack that affected three heavyweights of the online industry: eBay, Amazon and Yahoo!, bragging about it with colleagues and in chats, after he was sentenced to limited use of the Internet. He is another of those who has changed sides, since he currently works in a computer security company.
- Soupnazi: His real name is Albert González, king of the technique known as phishing. This hacker stole 170 million bank accounts around the world, was convicted in 2008 and is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.
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