In the technological universe, hacking or a hacker is commonly referred to a person excellently efficient in computer programming — a skilled computer expert who uses his technical abilities to overcome the problems faced by a system. Initially coined in the early 1960s at MIT in language programs, the term ‘hacker' was an entitlement of intellectuality and smartness for those whose curiosity had no limits.
Their thirst for knowledge developed the technology of ‘hacking' that was solely purposed to understand the machine's functionality and operations, like that of understanding a person. These respected hackers could literally ‘see through' a computer, recognize and analyze it.
Furthermore, computer hackers could disassemble a system's existence and put it back together after close monitoring and forbearing, like a geek. Things, however, began to unfold in a uniquely prospective direction in the early 1980s, thanks to media awareness and criminalization. So, who are the most famous hackers? Read on!
In the modern world, a small group still refers to hackers as people sporting an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about computers. The hacking community is now divided into ethical hacking, which is meant for computer gurus who take expansive, legally permitted steps to forbid; and unethical hacking, the widely styled term of the century for the hamlet of people using their progressive knowledge in illegal and non-economic activities, making them institutional criminals and punishable by law — also referred to as the ‘black hats' of security hacking, this section of people should actually be called crackers who break into a system and use it selfishly.
Whatever be the technicality of the terms used, the media and society are extensively aware of hacking, its benefits, and harms. And in the tabbed instances listed below, we shall take a closer look at those legends who used hacking to the indiscriminate level of accuracy that leaves you wondering whether you should appreciate or curse their brains. This is a catalog of the 5 most famous hackers who got caught eventually.
Having bought his first ever computer at a ripe age of 12, Gonzalez hacked into NASA at 14. Back at school, he was popularly attributed as the ‘troubled’ leader of an association of computer nerds. Becoming the mastermind of a hacking group called ShadowCrew at 23, that used packet sniffing and log trafficking to steal credit card numbers and resold it for monetary benefits, Gonzalez successfully hacked and sold 1.7 million credit card numbers.
While in cooperation with TJX Companies, he deceived them and stole 45.5 million credit card numbers over a period of 18 months, ending in 2007. The company faced shameful embarrassment, oblivious to the scandal assuming to date back in 2006, while it had actually been put into action in July in 2005 and continued ever since, making him one of the most famous hackers known in the case of cyber theft.
These attacks continued with Heartland Payments System hack along with two more unidentified companies during which he functioned the "Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin'," under covers, after which he was arrested, sentenced for a 20-year jail term.
After being released from jail in 1995, Poulsen funnily reconstructed his thinking and became a journalist, starting a workspace with a security research firm, SecurityFocus. He then moved on to become a senior editor for Wired News in 2005. In 2006, he helped in arresting 774 sex offenders on the then widely used social networking site, MySpace.
However, his crimes are not to be forgotten (actually, they cannot be forgotten). In 1990, using his intellect about telephones, he broke into the telephone lines of KIIS-FM at the Los Angeles radio station and declared himself as the would be the 102nd caller who will be rewarded a Porsche on a lucky draw.
His curiosity killed the cat when he playfully tapped into the federal computers of FBI after which the officials started hunting for the Dark Dante. He went into hiding where after he was arrested and sentenced for 5-year imprisonment, which he dutifully fulfilled and attained redemption.
So much for 15 minutes of recognition!
A rather desolate tale leading to disbelief in the justice system of the country, James was an American hacker sent to the juvenile court at a tender age of 16 for having accessed confidential information relating to NASA. Conjuring unauthorized access into the employees' details and availing information about the source code worth 1.7 million dollars, James violated the security laws, all while he was "goofing around in his teenage years," according to an anonymous PBS interview. He wanted that information to understand how the International Space Centre worked. NASA had to shut down its networks for three weeks to favor the investigation.
He wasn't initially arrested. James was set under a probation of six months, considering that he was a minor, restricted from recreational use of the computer. Yet so, he rebelled unconsciously and was sent to jail, all when he was sixteen.
His story ends disturbingly. James committed suicide in his youth when he was convicted of a crime he had never done. He mentions in his suicide note that he had no faith in the justice system and that the letter he had written should serve as a rude awakening. "I have lost control over this situation, and this is my only way to regain control," he wrote. James was accused of being the creator of the attacks on a department store that concerned the security of many customers. He hadn't become the most famous hackers of all times, given the tragic ending and privacy issues.
For Mitnick, hacking was a challenge; a game where he was to prove himself better than the other. His ploy to show his capability emerged as competition to Tsutomu Shimomura at FBI. On a cheery Christmas day in 1994, Mitnick broke into the personal network of Shimomura and began challenging him. Like a perfect game with unsaid rules, Shimomura and Mitnick spoke the tournament with unshakable fervor.
For every action of Mitnick, his nemesis has the absolute reaction. Too many against one that included FBI on the information of Shimomura, Mitnick was once again arrested in alleging an FBI official. Once again because, he, as a 16-year-old lad had hacked into DEC, stealing software worth 1 million dollars. Sentenced to a five and a half year term, Mitnick was released out of jail for a ridiculously fair reason that he could become a white hat at security agencies. And ever since, he's been the founder of Mitnick Security Consulting.
Creator of the ‘Morris Worm,' Robert Tappan Morris is the son of Robert Morris, an acclaimed computer scientist at Bell Labs, then at the NSA. While at Cornell University, he developed a worm whose primary function was to ration the ambit of the internet. This program rendered with a fatal flaw: it was infectious. And computers could be infected plentifully. And thus, on releasing the functionality of this program, he spread the worm that defiled over 6000 computers, at a stretch! This continuously slowed down the computer operations and caused those fateful to heave their final breath.
Having credited to be the owner of such a worm resulted in a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of the United States, which incarcerated him probation of 3 years, 400 hours of community service and a fine of 10500 USD.
Morris is now a tenured professor at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
These were the accounts of a few most famous hackers who were fables across towns and papers for their brains. Hackers in the modern era are aware and clever, the main necessities of the living of such a person, having a no-brainer in the field of morals and ethics.
Security measures are enforced yet, and it lies in educating the unimportance of hacking into the privacy of other individuals. Many more lie under covers, yet to be awakened by their self-conscience. Until then, this is the list.
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