Originally, hacking had a positive connotation. Hackers were tech enthusiasts trying their creativity for optimizing, customizing, and tweaking. 

This changed dramatically when such “creativity” was used to breach security defenses from systems and networks to exploit them through stealing, altering, or destroying information. 

Currently, just to mention, the word “hacking” can get us goose gumps. We know how harmful it can be and that everybody can fall, governments, big and small companies, famous and common people.

Let’s check 5 modern hackers who made history!

Richard Pryce, “Kuji” and Matthew Bevan, “Datastream Cowboy”

1996, young 16 and 22 years old respectively, hacked several military networks, including Defense Information System Agency, Korean Atomic Research Institute (KARI), and Griffiss Air Force Base.

It was said, they almost began the third world war. They put KARI’s researches into the American military systems. USA’s concern was that it could be North Korea’s info so the USA could be blamed for espionage. In the end, it was South Korea’s.

Pryce claimed, for him hacking was a game. Bevan said he was trying to prove a conspiracy theory related to UFO. 

Michael Calce, “Mafiaboy”

2000, 15-year-old “Mafiaboy”took down the most popular search engine, Yahoo. And only one week later, he managed the websites of CNN, eBay, Amazon, E*Trade, and Dell to crash.

Calce overwhelmed their servers through a DDoS attack. Due to “Mafiaboy” attack, the USA took the need for cybercrime laws seriously. For President Clinton’s administration, this became a top priority.

Calce stated hacking was for him about getting respect from other hackers and not about money.

Adrián Lamo Atwood

Lamo was a threat analyst, journalist, and hacker. He was 20 years old (2001) when he added fake quotes by rewriting a text published by Yahoo from Reuters, using a content management tool. His attack exposed severe risks of news manipulation. 

In 2002, he hacked The New York Times’ intranet to research public figures.

Lamo directly informed the press about his attacks. Sometimes, he helped to fix the vulnerabilities that allowed him to get into the different systems for free. 

In 2010, Lamo reported Chelsea Manning, an American soldier, to investigators from the Army. Manning leaked sensitive USA government documents to WikiLeaks.

Jeanson James Ancheta, “Zombie King”

20-year-old, Jeanson was the first hacker sent to prison for using botnet tech. Yes, that software is based on robots (zombies) that are infected devices and are used to take computer systems later. First, he hijacked thousands of computers across the US. Military computers of two facilities included.

In 2005, he compromised around 400 thousand computers through bots. He earned money every time bots owners were pushed to download adware. He also used to charge for installing adware or bots on different systems.

SolarWinds cyber attack

In 2020, SolarWinds, provider of software and network monitoring services to thousands of worldwide companies, including big corporations and government agencies of North America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, suffered a massive cyber attack. 

Hackers sniffed in classified info from Pentagon areas, State Department, National Nuclear Security Administration, Treasury, Intel, Cisco, Deloitte, Microsoft, etc.

Malicious code was added to SolarWinds software “Orion”, used to manage IT resources in companies. A backdoor was created, so hackers set up more malware to get remote access and spy on thousands of “Orion” users.

The USA blames Russian hackers since they detected similar method on previous 2014 and 2015 attacks on the White House and State Department servers, credited to the Russian Intelligence.

We don’t know the author’s names yet, but watch out! Because they are definitely around.

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