Six of Best White and Black Hat Hackers of All the Time

>> Sunday, August 01, 2010

While the real experience of hacking might not be accurately represented in movies, hackers certainly do become famous for white and black hat —good and bad— deeds.....

The following are six of the most famous hackers of all time:

White Hat

1. Linus TorvaldsCreator of the famous Unix-based operating system, Linux, Torvalds used his hacking skills to change the fundamental programming on this home computer. This initial foray into the inner workings of a Sinclair QL in inspired Torvalds to create his own system. Thanks to his efforts, the now extremely popular, open source OS was born.

2. Tim Berners-Lee
This inventor of the World Wide Web was caught hacking into Oxford files while he was a student at the university. He was then banned from the university. Eventually, he ended up working at CERN Laboratories, a European nuclear research organization. While there, he figured out a way to send hypertext through a network. At that point, the Internet as we know it was born.

3. Stephen Wozniak
While he is known known for being one of the co-founders of computer giant Apple Computer, Stephen Wozniak once made blue boxes to bypass telephone switching mechanisms. In this way, the user could get free long distance coverage. He was caught when he started selling the blue boxes to classmates.

After dropping out of college, Wozniak collaborated with his friend, Steve Jobs, to build the first Apple personal computers in their garage. The rest, as they say, is history.

Black Hat

1. Kevin MitnickDescribed by the Department of Justice as “the most wanted computer criminal in United States History,” Mitnick hacked into corporate computers, stole designs and product information, hacked the Los Angeles bus punch card system, and scrambled phones. He was eventually captured when he hacked into the computer of fellow hacker Tsutomu Shimomura. Shimomura then made it his mission to find Mitnick, and soon afterward Mitnick was in custody.

Today, he runs a computer security-consulting firm and has authored several books.

2. Robert Tappan Morris
The Morris Worm was the first such virus to be introduced to the Internet. While studying at Cornell, Morris wrote the code and released it. He claimed that he was only trying to see how large the Internet was. Unfortunately, the worm caused at least 6,000 computers to become unusable.

Three years of probation, 400 hours of community service, and $10,500.00 later, Morris had paid his debt to society. He now works as a tenured MIT professor.

3. Jonathan James
At 16 years of age, James was the youngest hacker to ever be sent to prison. The mot notable of his offenses was a back door he installed in a Defense Threat Reduction Agency server. This backdoor allowed him to access some e-mail correspondence as well as to isolate the usernames and passwords of key government employees. He also hacked into NASA’s computer system and stole technological information worth $1.7 million. To remove the inserted code, NASA had to shut down their computers. This cost them $41,000.00

James was sentenced to six months of house arrest, but was sent to prison for six months when he violated parole. He hopes to start his own tech company in the future.

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