6 of 11Image
Kevin Mitnick, described by the U.S. Department of Justice as "the most wanted computer criminal in United States history", was known as a self-styled 'poster boy' for hacking.
Famous for allegedly accessing high-profile computer systems of companies including Nokia, Fujitsu and Motorola, Mitnick became a player in a highly publicized dance and chase by authorities before being arrested in 1995.
Mitnick was convicted for breaking into the Digital Equipment Corporation's computer network and stealing software. Before that particular stunt, he was known for exploiting bus punch card systems in LA and phone phreaking.
He pleaded guilty to several charges as part of a plea bargain and served a 5-year sentence -- 8 months reportedly in solitary confinement -- before being released on parole. Today, Mitnick runs a computer security consultancy and is a public speaker and author.
Loyd Blankenship, also known as 'The Mentor', was a member of several hacker elite groups in the 1980s. The most famous was called the 'Legion of Doom' -- a group who stipulated they fought against rivals the 'Masters Of Deception' for online supremacy.
However, Blankenship is more famously known for writing the 'Hacker Manifesto' -- The Conscience of a Hacker -- which was written after his arrest in 1986. The book in question is still used by hackers today, and by some is considered a cornerstone of hacker philosophy -- namely that curiosity is the main crime of hackers, rather than simply conniving to break the law.
Kevin Poulsen, aka Dark Dante, was first noticed after hacking into the phone lines of LA-based radio station KIIS-FM, in order to make sure he was the 102nd caller -- and landing himself the prize of a Porsche as a result.
However, his antics didn't stop there. He also reactivated old Yellow Pages escort numbers for a friend who ran a virtual agency, hacked into a federal investigation database for wiretap information, and was dubbed "the Hannibal Lecter of computer crime."
He even appeared on television show Unsolved Mysteries -- and strangely enough, all of the phone lines mysteriously crashed.
Ultimately, Poulsen was snagged in a supermarket and served five years in prison. After his release, Poulson reinvented himself as a journalist -- and is known for a Wired article on identifying 774 sex offenders with MySpace profiles.