Black hat Hall Of Fame

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In this article I will be writing about few of the most notorious Black Hat hackers in the world. For those who don't know what Black Hat hackers means, they are those hackers with malicious intent as against White Hat hackers who hack mainly to expose security flaws to the developers. Here goes a list of the in-famous!!!

Jonathan James

This person tops the list of in-famous black hat hackers hands down. James was sent to juvenile prison at the age of 16 for installing backdoors on DoD(US dept. of defense) computers and stealing highly sensitive information regarding national security. James also cracked into NASA computers, stealing software worth approximately $1.7 million that included softwares critical to the operation of the ISS(international space station). In 2007, several high profile companies claimed that their networks were compromised and the police knew where to look for. James denied any involvement in these incidents, but his notoriety was such that he knew he would be convicted for crimes he did not commit and thus tragically took his own life in 2008. Sad ending to a computer wizard who at such a young age knew more than any of us could ever have known in our entire lives. :(

Kevin Mitnick

The most wanted computer criminal in United States' history and the storyline behind two hollywood movies "Freedom Downtime" and "Takedown". Mitnick currently owns and operates a computer security consulting agency called Mitnick Security Consulting, but not all was well before. He was sent to prison for hacking into DEC(Digital Equipment Corporation)'s network. After release from prison, he went into hiding and went on a hacking spree that involved compromising the national defense warning system's and stealing corporate secrets. He ended up spending close to 5 years in solitary confinement. He later decided to mend his ways and use his expert skills for something more constructive, the result of which is quite evident today.

Albert Gonzalez

He entered the black hat hall of fame by stealing close to 170 million credit card details over a period of two years. He was also involved in fabrication of fraudulent passwords, health insurance cards and birth certificates for identity thefts that amounted to a staggering $4.3 million in stolen data. In 2010, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Kevin Poulsen

Currently a top-notch journalist and a senior editor at Wired News, Kevin shot to fame by using his in-depth knowledge of telephone systems to hack into the telephone lines of LA radio(a popular radio station) and position himself as a winning caller in a competetion that won him a spanking new Porsche. In effect he had taken over all the telephone lines to the radio station to put himself into the hot seat. He then took his place on the FBI's most wanted list when he hacked into federal systems and stole wiretap information. After serving more than 5 years for his crimes, he decided to mend his ways much like Kevin Mitnick(even their names start with Kevin!!!. What a coincidence!!!). At one point in his reformed life, he even helped authorities nab 744 sex offenders just with their MySpace profiles. Not a bad ending after all. :)

Robert Tappan Morris

Does the name sound familiar. It does indeed. He was the person who created the Morris worm, the first computer virus to be unleashed on the internet for which he became the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. What is unbelievable is that, he is the son of a NSA(National Security Agency) scientist Robert Morris. Even more unbelievable, Morris wrote the code for the worm while at Cornell University. The worm ultimately spread so far and wide and slowed down computers until they were unusable. But, Morris claimed that he only wanted to see how wide the internet was. He spent about 3 years in prison for this, but like a few others on this Hall of Fame, he decided use his talent towards something less incendiary. Morris is currently working as a professor at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Nashon Even-Chaim

Nahshon Even-Chaim ,aka Phoenix, was the first major computer hacker to be convicted in Australia. He was one of the most highly-skilled members of a computer hacking group called The Realm, based in Melbourne, Australia, from the late 1980s until his arrest by the Australian Federal Police in early 1990. His targets centred on defence and nuclear weapons research networks including NASA. He developed a reputation within The Realm, his computer hacking group, for skill and arrogance. The AFP(Australian Federal Police) installed wiretaps on his phone and modems. The data taps revealed Even-Chaim spent marathon sessions at his computer, working at a rapid pace to enter and tamper with computer systems. It was the first time in the world a remote data intercept had been used to gain evidence for a computer crime prosecution.

Adrian Lamo

He shot to fame by breaking into major companies like New York Times, Microsoft Corporation by using internet connections at coffee shops and libraries to infiltrate these systems, which earned him the nickname of the "homeless hacker". His other hits include Yahoo!, Bank of America, Citigroup and Cingular. He used to inform the respective companies of the security flaws in their systems after breaking into and exploiting them, but since he was not hired by any of these companies as penetration testers, what he did was illegal. After serving nearly 2 years, Adrian now works as an award-winning journalist and public speaker.

Adrian Lamo, Kevin-Mitnick and Kevin Poulsen in reformed times :)


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