7 of the World’s Most Famous Hackers and What Happened to Them

Hacking is often times thought to be an evil and vicious attack on networks and computers. In real sense though, hacking is basically gaining access to data, networks or systems through unconventional means. This means that hacking can be done for both good or bad. “Black hat hackers”, or hackers who have malicious intent have predominated the web and for this reason, hacking often refers to activities by these individuals. Here is a list of some of the most famous hackers and what happened to them.

1. Julian Assange

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Julian Assange is a hacker that has become a sensation and influential figure in the 21st century. Assange is famous for creating WikiLeaks, a platform that he has used to publish classified documents. Assange started hacking when he was just a teenager, using the name “Mendax.” Assange is currently wanted by the United States for investigation on espionage charges. He is currently in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, however, where he is evading extradition to the USA.

2. Kevin Poulsen

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Famously known as “Dark Dante”, Kevin Poulsen became a menace after several successful hacking successes. One of his early exploits came when he managed to acquire a Porsche by hacking a radio station’s phone lines and declaring himself the prize winner. Afterward, Poulsen would hack into the federal system’s networks with the intention of stealing information. He managed to get himself into the FBI wanted list and he was finally arrested.

Poulsen served jail-time but he is currently a changed hacker. He now contributes to various web journals.

3. Kevin Mitnick

Back in the 1990s, there were not many cyber criminals. Kevin Mitnick is one of those hackers who was considered to be one of the dangerous hackers of the time. Mitnick attained his reputation in the black-hat world by hacking the Digital Equipment Corporation. He was arrested but at the end of his disciplinary term, he went rogue and hacked various networks including the national defense warning system. This earned him 5 years in prison.

When he came out of prison, he was a reformed man. Kevin Mitnick now works as a computer security consultant. He has his own company and he has also written books.

4. Jonathan James

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While most stories of the worst hackers end on a good note, some end tragically. Jonathan James is a hacker who delved into the black-hat world while he was very young. He also hacked into the NASA network and stole source codes. After being sent to prison as a minor for hacking into government and commercial networks, James was eventually released. His troubles, however, started when he came back to the limelight after many high-profile attacks in 2007. Although he denied being involved after he was considered a suspect, he took his own life in 2008.

5. Albert Gonzalez

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By 2017, identity theft statistics indicated that 6.64% of internet users were victims. According to Gobestvpn, it is such statistics that have led most people to consider using VPN protection for privacy. One of the earliest identity theft hackers was Albert Gonzalez. With his team, ShadowCrew, he managed to alter users’ health insurance information, credit card information, and passports. Gonzalez was busted for his crimes and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He is still in prison and is set to be released in 2025.

6. Loyd Blankenship

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Loyd Blankenship is one of the hackers that have seen the full evolution of computers and hacking. This famous hacker that is christened “The Mentor” earned his reputation through his book “Mentor’s Last Words”. This is a book that he wrote after he was arrested in 1986. In 1990, The US Secret Service confiscated a rulebook that they considered to be a handbook for hacking after a home raid. Loyd Blankenship has been a reformed many for many years now and he works at McAfee.

7. Anonymous

If there is a single sensational hacker of all time, then it has to be Anonymous. This person, or entity, is well-known for carrying out high-profile attacks on governments, big companies, institutions, the dark web and many other kinds of networks and systems. Anonymous is a group of decentralized hackers who do their work without any hierarchy or membership. As of recent years, Anonymous is involved in acts of hacktivism where they seek to ignite social change.

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