The Top Ten Greatest Hackers of All Time

We’ve all heard some pretty astounding things of which hackers are capable. We’ve distilled the list down to the top ten greatest hackers of all time. These hackers have shut down thousands of government computers, stolen millions of people’s private information, hacked into government networks, hacked into multimillion-dollar companies, and so much more. They are the best of the best when it comes to hacking. Most faced jail time for their criminal activity and are still in jail while others have since turned their lives around to put their hacking skills to good use. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the greatest hackers of all time.

10) Jonathan James

Jonathan James was the first juvenile to be imprisoned for a computer crime. At the age of sixteen, James Hacked into the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the United States government and installed a program referred to as a “sniffer” to analyze messages being sent between DTRA employees. In addition to this, he collected vital information like usernames and passwords for all the employees and stole software. All of this cost NASA forty-one thousand dollars in repairs. James committed suicide in 2008.

9) Kevin Poulson

You may know him as the current Senior Editor of Wired, but Kevin Poulson has a cybercriminal past. He was found guilty on seven counts of several types of fraud including mail, wire, and computer. He was also found guilty of money laundering.

8) Adrian Lamo

In his younger years, Adrian Lamo hacked major companies like Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and The New York Times. He used his computer skills to become an American Threat Analyst and played a major role in the finding Wikileaks suspect, Bradley Manning.

7) LulzSec

Also known as Lulz Security, LulzSec is a high-profile hacker group. They’re known for hacking into companies like Sony, News International, and government programs like the CIA, the FBI, Scotland Yard, and more. They once hacked into News Corporations and inserted that Rupert Murdoch had died, which he had not.

6) Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud and was convicted of hacking into major companies like Nokia and Motorola, as well as the Pentagon. He is now a successful entrepreneur. 

5) Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce

Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce worked together to hack into the United States military computer networks as a means to gain access to foreign systems. They manage to dump the contents of the Korean Atomic Research Institute into the United States Air Force’s system. As it turns out, the information belonged to South Korea, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but it could have been an international crisis.

4) Albert Gonsalez

Albert Gonsalez stole credit card information online for the duration of two years. He resold around 170 million ATM and credit card numbers by installing a sniffer to locate the data in the internal corporate networks. It was the biggest case of credit card theft in history, and he was sentenced to twenty years in federal prison.

3) Gary McKinnon

McKinnon infiltrated ninety-seven NASA and United States Military computers by installing a virus and deleting filed. He hacked the computers from a computer at his girlfriend’s aunt’s house in London, of all places, and managed to shut down the US Military’s Washington Network for twenty-four hours; that’s a network of around two thousand computers. This was the biggest military computer hack of all time.

2) Anonymous

This group is best known for wearing Guy Fawkes’ masks when in public. They’ve been known for hacking the Vatican, Paypal, the FBI, Sony, the CIA, Visa, Mastercard, and the Chinese, Tunisian, Israeli, and Ugandan governments. They claim to attack internet control and censorship.

1) Astra

A 58-year-old Greek mathematician hacked into France’s assault weapons database and stole vulnerable weapons data and sold the information for the duration of five years. He caused 360 million dollars in damages to the French Dassault Group and his identity was never discovered.

All of these hackers were incredibly skilled in cyber code and breaking down security. Most of them were caught and faced jail time for their cyber crimes while the identity of some still remains a mystery. All of these hackers caused millions of dollars in damages and some could have even caused war to breakout. A lot of the hackers have since put their cyber skills to better use by becoming security advisors or working for the government, but others faced an untimely end or the remainder of their life in jail. Hacking skills aren’t an immediate sentence to criminal behavior, there are constructive careers for those who have a knack for hacking.

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