hackersWhat do we know about modern hackers? Not much! There’s a prevailing stereotype of a nerd wearing heavy glasses who breaks into closed networks with some evil intentions. Sure, some hackers have purely financial goals and justification for what they are doing.

At the same time, the majority of really famous hackers break into networks and computers just for fun or out of curiosity. They are curious how easy or difficult it’ll be to break into the best protected IT systems in the world. So, let’s have a closer look at legendary hackers.

Jonathan James

If you followed the story of Jonathan James, perhaps, you know him better as “c0mrade”. The guy, being a minor, was convicted for hacking! Mr. James was only 15 when he managed to hack a series of networks, including NASA and the US Department of Defense. There’s a funny thing – James could even operate the International Space Station and turn on/off air conditioning there. The all-mighty NASA had to move its entire network offline for 3 weeks which caused huge monetary losses.

Unfortunately, this is a story with a tragic end. In 2007 James was accused of cyber crimes he claimed he had never committed. In 2008 he committed suicide before the trial.

Kevin Mitnick

This is the most wanted cyberpunk in the history of the United States! By the way, his life story has become the basis of two movies. So, why the FBI was after this guy? He spent a few years in prison for breaking into the network belonging to Digital Equipment Corporation. Having left the prison Kevin could not resist the temptation of hacking government networks. It was a 3-year spree for him. During that time he hacked everything he could hack! There were no secrets and doors that he could not unlock. He was convicted again. Now, Kevin runs own IT security consulting company.

Albert Gonzalez

Oh, this is a famous guy! He needed 2 years to gather info on over 170 million credit cards – that is almost half of the US population. It all started with ShadowCrew hacker group that stole over 1 million credit cards and sold them on the net. The guys were involved in all sorts of counterfeiting – birth certificates, health insurance, passports etc.

The apogee was hacking Heartland Payment Systems and TJX Companies and stealing their CC numbers. Albert was sentenced for 20 years.

Kevin Poulsen

The famous Dark Dante! Kevin hacked phone lines of a radio station and managed to win a contest among callers with a sparkling Porsche as the prize. Later, he broke into federal networks, so FBI were after him. Kevin was caught in a supermarket. He spent 51 months in prison. Now he is a journalist. He’s known as Hannibal Lecter of Cybercrime.

Gary McKinnon

Well, Gary claims he’s a good guy who was only looking for info on UFO activity and free energy suppression. He broke into systems of NABA and the US Armed Forces which resulted in losses over $1 million. McKinnon lives in the UK and hasn’t been extradited to the US yet.

P.S: There’s no way you can protect yourself from hackers. Those who want to break into your network will do so! However, if you want to have a basic protection, use services of specialized companies, for instance http://vistnet.com/ which is enough for 99% of attacks.