There are good website hackers, and there are bad website hackers, but not many actually make a name for themselves. Often times, hackers are just doing their jobs, finding web design flaws, and other times, they play a little prank here and there. Where are those cyber terrorists and criminal masterminds Hollywood loves to celebrate? Even though the act of hacking is never properly portrayed in movies, the people behind the chaos are very real. For better or worse, these famous hackers have become legends.
World Famous Website Hackers
This famous hacker became popular amongst the website hacker community and the UFO lovers. Gary McKinnon went by the internet pseudonym “Solo” while he snuck his way around the US military and NASA cyber corridors. What was he looking for? Information about UFO’s and alien cover-ups.
This went on for a little over a year, and the damage he did in the process was irreversible. He deleted a ton of critical files, ruining hundreds of computers and costing the US government over $700,000 in damage. McKinnon, a Scottish native, has been dodging extradition to the US since he was caught (he wasn’t very sneaky. He left NASA a message saying “Your security is crap,” to help them out or something).
Today, he works in SEO and charges 40 pounds an hour to get companies ranking.
Possibly the most famous hacker (if not infamous) of all time and US Department of Justice’s “most wanted computer criminal in US history.” Kevin Mitnick made a name for himself by hacking into several digital networks like Nokia and IBM. In a more severe case, Mitnick hacked into the national defense warning system. He was convicted and sent to prison for five years for selling corporate secrets.
That was in the past, however. Kevin Mitnick now runs his own security firm that helps companies test the strength of their website security and keep away website hackers. Lately, there’s been some controversy around his company selling website security exploits.
The other famous hacker named Kevin, previously under the hacker alias “Dark Dante,” had a much shorter stint. Kevin Poulsen was a genius in his own right and an expert on telephone systems. He used this knowledge and skill set to hack into a radio stations telephone line. Why? To ensure that he was the 102nd caller. Why go through the trouble? He really wanted that Porsche they were giving away.
After this, he became a real fugitive. He left Los Angeles and went into hiding for 18 months until finally being discovered in 1991. He was widely covered in the news, which often referred to him as “The Hannibal Lector of computer crime.”
He gave up the hacking life after serving time in prison and now is an author and editor for wired.com, a publication that talks a lot about hackers. He is also a book author, penning the hacker based fiction book ‘Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground.’
Also known as “c0mrade,” Jonathan James was just 15 years old when he started his cybercrime career. At such a young age, it’s hard to imagine that it would be him versus the US military– but that is exactly what happened. While still just a kid, he hacked into the US Department of Defense, NASA and other secure networks. He downloaded enough information, NASA had to shut down for long enough to cost them over $40,000.
He is, to this day, the youngest website hacker to get tried and sent to prison for cybercrimes.
Normally found in coffee shops, this famous website hacker was known as the “homeless hacker.” He wasn’t actually homeless, of course. Adrian Lamo spent his days hacking into different corporations and then telling them about their website security flaws. Although, he did hack into the New York Times’ database, viewed and leaked sensitive information.
He definitely isn’t free from controversy. In 2010, Lamo outed a supposed Wikileaks source by the name of Bradley Manning. The decision, he said, was one of “moral ambiguity” but was entirely necessary for national security purposes.
Adrian Lamo works as a journalist.
How to Keep Website Hackers Away
An apple a day, as they say. If an apple means excellent web design, then that is what it’s about. If you have any website ideas or products, contact Mvestor today to get your ideas started!