Hackers Hall of Fame

Many people think that all hackers are involved in criminal activities, but this is not so. While it is true that a great number of hackers are known to exploit computer systems and cause huge amount of damage--for entertainment, financial gain, or other purposes--there are hackers who use their expertise for a good cause. Those who are involved in criminal activities are known as black hat hackers, or crackers, while those who work in an ethical way are called white hat hackers. White hat hackers can be individuals working for data recovery companies, and assisting them with data recovery.

Since the advent of the internet, there have been a number of hackers who have made a name for themselves by either causing damage to computer systems or developing important computer technologies. Below is the Hall of Fame of Hackers, which includes both black hat and white hat hackers.

Jonathan James: James gained fame when he became the first minor who was given a prison sentence for his hacking activities. He was 16 years old when he was sent to prison. James, who was known as “c0mrade”, managed to penetrate the computer system of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or the DTRA, which is an arm of the Defense Ministry. He was also responsible for stealing software that cost about $1.7 million from NASA. James was released from prison after serving a six-month sentence. Today, he has plans for setting up a company that deals with computer security.

Adrian Lamo: Lamo was known as the Homeless Hacker, because he was a drifting hacker who operated in coffee shops, Kinko’s, and libraries. He even worked in disguise to avoid being recognized by investigators. Lamo was actually a black hat hacker who performed the same kind of hacking activities as white hats, exploiting systems and then letting companies know about the limitations of their security systems. However, since he was not employed by any company to do so, his activities were considered illegal. Some of the companies that he hit were Bank of America, Yahoo!, New York Times, and Citigroup. He was fined $65,000 for intruding on the computer system of the New York Times, and he was sentenced to 6 months of house arrest. Presently, Lamo is a successful public speaker and journalist.

Kevin Mitnick: Mitnick called himself the Hacker Poster Boy. At one point, he was named the “most wanted computer criminal in United States history”. His hacking activities started with the exploitation of the punch card system of the Los Angeles bus company, so that he could get free rides. Later on, he broke into the computer system of the Digital Equipment Corporation and stole software from there. He extended his hacking activities to a number of other companies, and in the end, he was caught when he hacked into the personal computer of Tsutomu Shimomura, who was a computer expert. Mitnick was sentenced to 5 years in prison, and he is presently a speaker, author, and computer security consultant.

Stephen Wozniak: Wozniak is one of the most respected white hat hackers in computer history. He is famously known as “Woz”, and he is the co-founder of Apple Computer, along with Steve Jobs. He started hacking by developing blue boxes to make free international phone calls. After he quit college, Wozniak began work on the first Apple computer. He was responsible for designing most of the hardware and software for the computer, and after it was completed, he sold 100 units of Apple 1 for $666.66 each. Presently, Stephen is not working with Apple, and he is doing philanthropic work.

Tim Berners-Lee:
Berners-Lee is widely known as the founder of the World Wide Web. For his important achievements, he was given the Millennium Technology Prize, as well as a host of other awards. He practiced hacking when he was studying at Oxford University, and he was caught and banned from using computers in the university. Berners-Lee conceived of the idea of the World Wide Web when he was working for a European nuclear research organization, CERN. After he developed the World Wide Web, he started the W3C at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and made the W3C idea and standards freely available to the public.

Useful Links:

Another Hackers Hall of Fame
Famous Hackers
15 Greatest Hacking Exploits
Cyber Crime Hall of Fame
Types of Hackers
Top 5 White Hat Hackers

How to Become a Hacker
History of Hacking
Federal Criminal Law on Hacking

Books on Hacking

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