1 Gary McKinnon:Gary McKinnon comes first among his competitors.His hacking into top notch U.S. institutions was talk of legends.U.S. military, Pentagon, NASA succumbed to his hacking and reduced to sort of mockery.In 2002, an odd message appeared on a US Army computer screen: “Your security system is crap,” it read. “I am Solo.I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.” It was later identified as the work of Scottish systems administrator, Gary McKinnon. This made him the biggest hacker celebrity the world have ever seen and registered his name in golden words in book of hackers. McKinnon is now facing 70 years of imprisonment and is deprived from accessing internet. He has illegally accessed 97 computers and has caused around $700,000 damage to the economy.
The most shocking thing McKinnon’s motives for the large scale hackings, which he claims were in search of information on UFOs. He believed the US government was hiding such information in its military computers.
2 Robert Tappan Morris:On November 2, 1988, Robert Morris released a worm that took down one-tenth of the Internet, crippling 6,000 plus computer systems. At that time he was a student at Cornell and from that where he started writing codes to create worms as he wanted to know how large the internet world is. But the worm lead to the slow speed of internet and made the systems no longer usable.He was sent to 3 years imprisonment, 400 hours of community service and was fined $10,500. At present he is a professor at Massachusetts institute of technology, computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory. He was the first person prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It’s been a turn big turn around in his life, from a young computer prodigy to feared hacker, and now a professor at one of the most respected university.
3 Kevin David Mitnick:Kevin started with his minor cyber crimes when he was twelve years old. He hacked the Los Angeles bus transfer system to get free rides the biggest hacking was the breaking into the DEC system to view the VMS source code (open virtual memory system which lead to the clean-up cost of around $160,000. He broke into the computer of top technology and telecommunications like Nokia, Motorola, Fujitsu Siemens and sun Micro systems. He termed his activity as social engineering to legalize his acts. He also gained the full administration privileges to IBM minicomputers at the computer learning institute in Los Angeles for a bet. He was sent to prison for five years and eight months and when he was freed he decided to set up Mitnick Security, which is a safety consultancy company that offers its services for multinational firms.
4 Kevin Poulsen:Also known as Dark Dante, Poulsen gained recognition for his hack of LA radio’s KIIS-FM phone lines, (taing over all of the station’s phone lines) which earned him a brand new Porsche, among other items. His photo came up on the show Unsolved Mysteries, 1-800 phone lines for the program crashed. Law enforcement dubbed him “the Hannibal Lecter of computer crime.”Authorities began to pursue Poulsen after he hacked into a federal investigation database. During this pursuit, he further drew the ire of the FBI by hacking into federal computers for wiretap information. Poulsen went underground as a fugitive when the FBI began its search for him, but in 1991, he was finally captured. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of mail, wire and computer fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and for obtaining information on covert businesses run by the FBI. Kevin Poulsen was sentenced to 51 months in prison (4 years and 3 months), which was the longest sentence ever given for hacking at the time.However, since serving time, Poulsen has worked as a journalist and is now a senior editor for Wired News.
5 Jonathan James:Jonathan James, aged only 16, was the first teenager to be held captive for computer hacking when he was only sixteen years old. He broke into the server of department of defense in the year 1999 which gave him a nick name comrade at the age of 16. He also broke into NASA. Stealingsoftwares of NASA and DoD later put him into big trouble. When he was accused of hacking several websites he said that he was actually having a look and fooling around and that what he found really interesting was the challenge to see what he could do.On May 18, 2008, aged 25, he committed suicide using a gun. James in his suicide note expressed that he would be made a scapegoat and blamed for cyber crimes he did not commit: “I have no faith in the ‘justice’ system. Perhaps my actions today, and this letter, will send a stronger message to the public. Both way, I have lost control over this situation, and this is my only way to regain control,” as given in Listverse.
6 Adrian Lamo:Adrian Lamo was famous by his nickname “the homeless hacker”. He used coffee shops, libraries and internet cafés as his locations for hacking. Lamo is widely-known for breaking into a series of high-profile computer networks–The New York Times, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and MCI WorldCom. In 2002, he added his name to the The New York Times’ internal database of expert sources and utilized LexisNexis account to conduct research on high-profile subjects. The Times filed a complaint, and a warrant for Lamo’s arrest was issued.After several days being underground, he finally surrendered to feds. He was ordered to pay approximately $65,000 in damages and was sentenced to six months house arrest at his parents’ home, with an additional two years of probation. Lamo is presently working as a threat analyst and donates his time and skills to a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization.
7 Vladimir Levin:Vladimir Levin became famous for being involved in an attempt to fraudulent transfer of $10.7 million through Citibank’s computers. He and his 4 other members with him were involved in this activity. He was said to have coordinated the first ever internet bank raid.Levin used a laptop computer in London, England for the access. He stole the customers codes and passwords. He made a transaction of $3.7 million via wires to accounts his group controlled in United States, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel. He was arrested in London airport in March 1995, was convicted upto 3 years in jail. He had to pay Citibank of amount $240,015. Levin’s ability to transfer Citibank client funds to his own accounts was possible through stolen account numbers and PINs. Levin’s scam was a simple interception of clients’ calls while recording the punched in account numbers.
8 Raphael Gray:Raphael was 19 years old when he hacked the computer systems around the world in over six weeks, and made mockery of the security the world felt safe in. His mission was to make a multi- million pound credit card. He published about 6,500 credit cards as an example of weak security in the consumer websites.
9 The Deceptive Duo:In the year 2002 two young computer prodigies namely Benjamin stark,20 and Robert Lyttle,18 broke into government networks, including the U.S. navy, NASA, FAA and Department of Defense (DoD). They argued that they were merely trying to expose security failures and protect Americans because of the 9/11 incident. Stark was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and Lyttle severed 4 months in prison with 3 years probation and was fined with an amount of ten thousand dollars each. The young tots definitely made top security officials to re-plan their security design.
10 Michael Calce:When he first started hacking he was famously referred as mafia boy, and his name was prevented from getting public, for he was a minor, when fads nabbed him. A high school student from west island, Quebec who launched service attacks in the year 2000 against the top commercial websites including Yahoo!, amazon.com, Dell, E-trade, E-Bay and CNN. Like many hackers, Calce exploited websites primarily for pride and establishing dominance for himself and his cybergroup. On September 12, 2001, the Montreal Youth Court sentenced him to 8 months of open custody, one year probation, a small fine. He was restricted from accessing the internet. He obviously awestruck the people with his gig.