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In 1988 a computer virus infected around 6,000 major Unix machines, replicating itself and slowing the systems down to the point of being completely unusable and reportedly causing millions of dollars in damage.
The hand behind the virus? Robert Tappan Morris. Whether this virus was the first of its type is debatable -- but one thing is set in stone. Morris became the first person to be convicted under the 1988 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Son of former National Security Agency scientist Robert Morris, the 'Morris worm' was coded when he was studying at Cornell. He asserted that the worm wasn't meant to cause any damage; instead, it was intended to 'gauge the size of the Internet'.
This didn't help, however, and Morris was given three years' probation, 400 hours of community service and a fine of $10,500. After his conviction, Morris began working as a professor at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
Famous as the co-founder of Apple, Stephen "Woz" Wozniak is a little different from other profiles here -- and began a 'white hat' hacking career with 'phone phreaking' -- in other words, ways to bypass a the phone system.
As a student at the University of California, Wozniak made 'blue box' devices for his friends so they could make free long-distance phone calls -- reportedly, one of these items was also used to call the Pope while pretending to be Henry Kissinger.
He later left university to begin working on computer designs, forming the Apple computing system with Steve Jobs. Wozniak designed the hardware and the majority of the software for the first Apple prototypes. Wozniak and Jobs sold the first one hundred of the Apple I to a local dealer for $666.66 each.