Claims to fame: High-profile hackers and what happened next

Claims to fame: High-profile hackers and what happened next

Summary: Some of the most high-profile computing criminals and alleged hackers - and it seems many turn to journalism after.

TOPICS: Security

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  • In 2004, Sven Jaschan was found guilt of writing both the Netsky and Sasser worms whilst he was still a teenager. At that point in time, the viruses were considered responsible for 70 percent of all malware present online.

    As he was still a teenager, after being convicted, Jaschan was given a suspended sentence and three years probation. However, there was a silver lining -- he was later hired by a security firm.



  • Adrian Lamo -- nicknamed the 'homeless hacker' due to his delight in using coffee shops, libraries and Internet cafés as his bases, rather than home.

    Lamo's claims to fame include breaking into the networks of major organizations. Most of the time, he focused on penetration testing, finding security flaws and reporting findings to the companies that owned them. Lamo broke into the intranet of the New York Times and added his name to their database of experts and gaining access to sensitive information including Social Security numbers.

    Other hits included Microsoft, Yahoo!, Bank of America, Citigroup and Cingular.

    White-hat hackers are hired for this type of testing -- but Lamo was not. Therefore, after his New York Times break-in, he was ordered to pay approximately $65,000, sentenced to six months of home confinement and two years of probation. Lamo is now working as a journalist and public speaker.  



  • 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.

Topic: Security

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  • It ain't worth it. No way. No how.

    The hackers that do crime have this teflon belief where they have convinced themselves that they are smarter than everyone else. Delusions of grandeur, etc. Everyone makes a mistake. Count on it.
  • A dream

    That guy's a profiler's dream; he ego, narcissism and depravity and lack of conscience show well in his photo. It's the kind of face you'd just love to fill with a jack-boot.
  • Wastes of skin

    Amen; and with egoes to match on top of their narcisism. I'm a profiler of sorts and that photo of that guy shows a total lack of respect for anyone else, an overblown ego, no consience and if not already true could be guilty of heinous crimes and an inability to see where anything he does is wrong. That's typical of these types of people.
  • Charlie, you missed one of your ZDNet guest writers.

    By which I mean Robert Schifreen. At least we know what HE's doing now - he has been writing about it all through May 2012 for ZDNet UK!
  • Mitnick

    They always say Mitnick works as a security consultant, but I've heard no one uses his services more than once. Why hire a guy who will install a back door into your computer when there are thousands who won't? I wouldn't hire him to clean out my pool.
  • Claims to fame: High-profile hackers and what happened next

    these people (hackers not crackers) were kids with more brain processing power than most of us. some of them opted to skirt the law and got caught, others became lucky and still are running wild in their chosen criminal profession. but we should not forget that most of them became the pillar of advancement in computing. kids are kids, they need guidance from home and from society to channel their creative energy for the benefit of us all. mitnick is a security consultant because he knows more about the psyche of a criminal mind, remember the old adage, "you need a thief to catch another thief." anybody can watch "catch me if you can", and see how the government used the talent of a young criminal to secure our checking system. and don't forget the woz. there are millions of them like him out there, working their butt off to understand how computers and networks work, and then use those gained knowledge when they join the job market later.
  • These guys should get laid

    If only these guys had managed to find a woman and something better to do in life besides sitting at a computer all day.. sigh..