We all know that the term hacker is synonymous with computer enthusiast. However there are hackers out there who use their skills in less than legitimate ways. This list shows five of the most well known black hat hackers of all time.
At age 12 Mitnick used his social engineering skills to ride Los Angeles buses for free by bypassing their punchcard system. By the age of
17 he had already mastered the intricacies of hacking the phone system to redirect calls. Over the years, he racked up quite a few other confirmed
criminal hacking offenses until he eventually caught the eye of Tsutomu Shimomura, a computer scientist and security expert who tracked Mitnick down for the FBI and helped in his eventual capture.
Mitnick was sentenced to five years in prison, four and a half of which were served pre-trial and eight months were served in solitary
confinement due to the belief that he could start a nuclear war with a pay phone. He now runs his own security firm, Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC.
Known as Mafiaboy, Calce was responsible for bringing down websites like Yahoo!, Ebay, CNN, Amazon and Dell with Distributed Denial of
Service Attacks. He drew attention from the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after taking credit for the attacks in an IRC chatroom. Officials realized they had the hacker in question when details about the Dell takedown were given that had not yet been publicized.
A high school student at the time, Calce was sentenced to eight months of open custody and one year of probation. He has since written a
book about his actions and how Internet security is still too lax.
James has the credit of being the first juvenile incarcerated for a cybercrime in the United States. At the age of 15 James had
successfully broken into computer systems belonging to the Miami-Dade School System, Bell South and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the Department of Defense.
Convicted by the time he was 16, James was forced to serve six months of house arrest and probation until he turned 21 years old. When he
later tested positive for drug use, he was taken into custody and served six months in a federal correctional facility.
In 2007, James was investigated as being a part of the group responsible for the TJX intrusion. While he was never convicted alongside
others, such as Albert Gonzalez, James was believed to be a co-conspirator. In 2008, he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Known as the Homeless Hacker, Lamo’s claim to fame was breaking into computer networks belonging to The New York Times, Yahoo!, MCI, WorldCom and Microsoft. In 2004 he was sentenced to six months house arrest and two years of probation and was ordered to pay around $65,000 in restitution.
Lamo’s stepped back into the limelight when he refused to provide the US government with a blood sample for the CODIS system, a DNA
database used for the identification of criminal suspects.
Lamo has since gone into hiding due to threats on his life after he turned in US Army Specialist Bradley Manning as an insider who provided
information to WikiLeaks in regards to the Collateral Murder video of airstrikes in Baghdad.
One of the most famous hackers of all didn’t earn his
stripes bypassing computers security measures, but the phone system. And while he is regarded in most computer circles as hero, he did break the law and thus earned himself a place on this list.
Better known as Captain Crunch, Draper found that the whistle found in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal produced a tone of 2600 hertz,
the same one used by AT & T to indicate that a trunk line was ready for a new call.
In 1971 Esquire ran a story about Phone Phreaking that resulted in Draper’s arrest and sentence of five years probation. On the flip
side, it also brought Steve Wozniak to Draper. Wozniak and Steve Jobs learned Draper’s techniques and eventually hired him to build the telephone interface for the Apple II.
Draper went on to work as a software developer, even writing much of the code for EasyWriter while in jail.