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Tech History: Famous Hackers From Around The World

published 11/9/2020

Did you know that over 9.9 billion malware attacks happened in 2019 alone? Hacking isn't simply a hobby or a small-time crime; it's a whole industry!

One of the reasons people make malware and hack various businesses and computers is to gain fame. If you aren't familiar with the most famous hackers around, you'll have no idea what these people are capable of. This is a disadvantage because you won't know how to defend yourself.

Don't panic yet.

With this guide, you'll learn about famous hackers around the globe. That way, you'll know how they rose to infamy. Read on and find out more:

1. Kevin Mitnick

Mitnick started his journey toward American hacking fame as a teen. In 1981, he stole computer manuals from Pacific Bell. A year after that, he hacked the North American Defense Command (NORAD), inspiring War Games, a 1983 film.

Six years after the film's release, Mitnick hacked the network of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). He then made duplicates of their software. This act made him more famous since this company was one of the brightest stars in the computer manufacturing industry then.

Later, Mitnick got arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. After getting a conditional release, he hacked Pacific Bell once more, this time targeting their voicemail systems. Regardless, he never used the access and data he got from hacking throughout his career.

Most people believe that Mitnick did it to prove that someone skillful enough can hack into Pacific Bell and gain full control over it. He fled after he got another arrest warrant for two years before he got caught and served time in prison. His crimes include both wire and computer fraud.

Now, Mitnick is using white hat practices, but most consider him as part of the gray area between both hats.

2. Adrian Lamo

Lamo used an unsecured content management tool at Yahoo in 2001. His objective was to change a Reuters article and put a fake quote he attributed to John Ashcroft, a former Attorney General. His often system hacking came with notifications to both his victims and the press.

Sometimes, Lamo volunteered to help clean his mess and improve security. But this hacker took things too far a year after when he hacked into The New York Times' intranet. He then added himself as one of the expert sources and researched various high-profile public figures.

This made Lamo infamous, and his vagrant lifestyle earned him the title "The Homeless Hacker." He never had a fixed address, preferring to wander around with only his essentials stored in a backpack.

3. Albert Gonzalez

Gonzalez started as a troubled pack leader of computer nerds back in a Miami high school. After a series of events, he became an active member of, a criminal commerce website. They consider him as one of the brightest hackers and the best moderator.

This hacker got arrested in New York at age 22 because he stole data from millions of debit card accounts. Instead of opting for jail time, Gonzalez became a Secret Service informant. This resulted in indicting dozens of his former comrades at the Shadowcrew.

While serving as a paid informant, Gonzalez didn't stop with his criminal acts. He stole over 180 million payment card accounts from various companies like the Boston Market and OfficeMax. His attack on TJX in 2005 was the first-ever credit information data breach.

Gonzalez did this by employing a basic SQL injection. His team made back doors in various corporate networks, stealing a total of $256 million from TJX. After he got sentenced in 2015, a federal prosecutor notes that the human victimization resulting from Gonzalez's acts were "unparalleled."

4. Jeanson James Ancheta

This hacker exploited systems because of his curiosity about bots. These are software robots used for infecting and controlling entire computer systems. He used a series of large-scale botnets to compromise over 400,000 computers back in 2005.

After that, Ancheta rented his machines to various advertising companies. He also got paid for installing adware on various systems. Regardless, he got 57 months in prison for his crimes, and he was the first hacker sent to jail because of botnet technology use.

Are you scared of how do hackers get into your computer? Take the time to learn various types of malware. This allows you to identify whether it's time to call in some experts to eliminate it for you.

5. Michael Calce

Back in February 2000, Calce was 15 and known by the alias "Mafiaboy." He discovered how to control university computer networks and used its combined resources for a nefarious scheme. Back then, Google didn't own the majority of the global search engine market yet, so the top search engine was Yahoo.

With these computers, he took the search engine down using a distributed denial of service (DDoS), as well as various major websites like Dell, CNN, eBay, and Amazon. It overwhelmed servers, causing everything to crash. This is one of the most jarring cybercrimes on the internet since it called online security into question, but it cemented Calce as one of the most famous computer hackers in the world.

Most people argued that if a teenager caused a billion-dollar website to crash, no data was truly safe. The good news is that the government immediately developed cybercrime laws in response. It became a top priority thanks to this ambitious hack.


Unlike other hackers on this list, the hacker behind ASTRA remains unidentified. It's even though some news outlets showed that authorities already apprehended them in 2008. The only information available is the fact that they're a 58-year-old Greek mathematician.

As reports indicate, ASTRA was hacking into the Dassault Group for almost five years. During this duration, he got high-end weapons technology software and data. He then sold it to over 250 people across the globe.

Learn More About Famous Hackers Today!

These are famous hackers you must be aware of. Use this information to motivate yourself and take cybersecurity more seriously.

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