Hackers have earned a reputation as internet sleuths who can both bring justice and destroy lives with their skills. The stories of these five most dangerous hackers will make you rethink exactly how and when you use the internet. Get off the grid, and get into these stories as we present: the five most dangerous hackers of all time.
Number Five: Kevin Mitnick. Known as the “The Condor” and “The Darkside Hacker,” Mitnick began hacking in the late 1970s. He first used his gifts to get free bus rides, but later his work became much more insidious when he hacked into giant companies like Nokia, Motorola, IBM and, eventually, the Pentagon. He was on the run from the FBI for three years before he eventually got thrown in jail.
Number Four: Matthew Bevan and Richard Price. These two British men were known as “Kuji & Datastream Cowboy,” and they became notorious when they attacked the Pentagon’s network and were eventually able to steal battlefield simulations. They also intercepted messages from agents and accessed highly sensitive material. The fact that they were able to use United States systems to access Korean systems nearly caused an international uproar.
Number Three: Anonymous. Hacktivist group Anonymous, or Anon, was created in 2003 and since then have been adamantly campaigning for social justice, internet freedom and transparency. They have hacked everything from the Chinese government to the Vatican, not to mention the CIA. They aren’t motivated by money, which might actually make them even more dangerous.
Number Two: Unknown Name. This hacker, who goes by “Astra,” spent five years in the mid-aughts stealing data and software, then subsequently selling it. Nobody has been able to accurately estimate how much money Astra made by sharing this information, but he/she has caused an innumerable amount of damage. Astra was never publicly identified.
Number One: Gary McKinnon. Known as “Solo,” Gary McKinnon was able to access U.S. Military and NASA servers. In 2001 alone, McKinnon deleted $700,000 worth of data and sensitive files. McKinnon was not motivated by money, but rather by the prospect of extraterrestrial life. He later stated that he found evidence of such life, but has not shared it publicly.