The Most Famous Hacker, Ranked

Choose the hacker you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 24, 2024 09:52
Understanding the influence and impact of prominent hackers can shed light on the complexities of internet security and cyber ethics. A ranked list of notable figures in this sphere helps in identifying the varying methodologies and motivations behind their actions. This insight not only enhances public awareness but also aids cybersecurity professionals in developing stronger defenses against potential threats. By participating in the voting process for the most famous hacker, users contribute to a broader discussion on cybersecurity issues. Each vote helps to prioritize which figures are considered most influential or notorious based on public perception. This dynamic ranking serves as a contemporary reflection of the evolving landscape in internet security and the personalities who have marked their presence in significant ways.

Who Is the Most Famous Hacker?

  1. 1

    Kevin Mitnick

    Once the most wanted computer criminal in United States history, Kevin Mitnick is now a trusted security consultant to the Fortune 500 and governments worldwide.
    • Notable Hack: Hacked into 40 major corporations' networks.
    • Legal Outcome: Served five years in prison.
  2. 2

    Gary McKinnon

    Accused of executing the 'biggest military computer hack of all time,' Gary McKinnon allegedly hacked into 97 United States military and NASA computers.
    • Notable Hack: Hacked into 97 US military and NASA computers.
    • Legal Outcome: Extradition to the US was blocked by the UK.
  3. 3

    Jonathan James

    Known for being the first juvenile incarcerated for cybercrime in the United States, Jonathan James hacked into high-profile organizations, including the US Department of Defense.
    • Notable Hack: Hacked into the US Department of Defense.
    • Legal Outcome: Sentenced to prison while still a minor.
  4. 4

    Adrian Lamo

    Known as the 'Homeless Hacker' for his transient lifestyle, Adrian Lamo gained notoriety for breaking into several high-profile computer networks.
    • Notable Hack: Hacked The New York Times and Microsoft.
    • Legal Outcome: Convicted of computer fraud.
  5. 5

    Albert Gonzalez

    Albert Gonzalez orchestrated one of the biggest credit card thefts in history, stealing over 170 million card and ATM numbers.
    • Notable Hack: Stole 170 million card numbers from 2005 to 2007.
    • Legal Outcome: Sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  6. 6

    Kevin Poulsen

    Also known as 'Dark Dante,' Kevin Poulsen gained fame for his hacking of phone lines, most notably taking over all the lines that led to a radio station to win a Porsche.
    • Notable Hack: Hacked phone lines of LA radio station KIIS-FM to win a Porsche.
    • Legal Outcome: Served five years in prison.
  7. 7


    Anonymous is a decentralized international hacktivist group known for its various cyber attacks against several governments, institutions, and corporations.
    • Notable Hack: Attacks on PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and others in support of WikiLeaks.
    • Legal Outcome: Various members arrested globally.
  8. 8

    Robert Tappan Morris

    Creator of the first worm on the Internet, the Morris Worm, Robert Tappan Morris is now a respected computer scientist.
    • Notable Hack: Created the Morris Worm.
    • Legal Outcome: Convicted, but later became a professor at MIT.
  9. 9

    Julian Assange

    Founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange became famous for his publication of classified media from anonymous sources.
    • Notable Hack: Published classified documents on WikiLeaks.
    • Legal Outcome: Facing extradition to the US on espionage charges.
  10. 10

    Jeanson James Ancheta

    Jeanson James Ancheta was the first person to plead guilty to using botnets for profit, specifically by installing adware on a network of up to 500,000 compromised computers.
    • Notable Hack: Created a botnet of 500,000 computers for adware.
    • Legal Outcome: Sentenced to 57 months in prison.

Missing your favorite hacker?

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous hacker. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or hacker is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 193 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each hacker once every 24 hours. The rank of each hacker is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Famous Hacker

Kevin Mitnick
Rank #1 for the most famous hacker: Kevin Mitnick (Source)
Hackers have always intrigued the world. They possess skills that allow them to navigate and manipulate computer systems. Their actions can range from benign pranks to serious crimes. These individuals often start young, driven by curiosity and a desire to understand how things work.

The most famous hacker is known for their exceptional skills and high-profile actions. They often begin their journey by exploring simple systems. This early exploration helps them learn coding and understand security flaws. Over time, their skills grow, and they start to exploit vulnerabilities in more complex systems.

This hacker's activities often attract the attention of law enforcement. They might breach corporate systems, steal sensitive data, or disrupt services. Such actions can cause significant financial and reputational damage. Their ability to evade capture adds to their notoriety. They often use pseudonyms and hide their tracks well.

Their fame grows as media reports on their exploits. Stories about their hacks spread quickly. They become a figure of both fear and admiration. Some see them as criminals, while others view them as digital rebels challenging the system. Their actions spark debates about security, privacy, and ethics.

Many of these famous hackers face legal consequences. Authorities eventually catch up with them. They might face trials, and some receive prison sentences. Yet, their skills remain respected. Some even turn their talents to good use after serving their time. They might work as security consultants, helping organizations protect their systems.

The story of the most famous hacker highlights the dual nature of hacking. It can cause harm, but it also exposes weaknesses in our digital world. Their actions push companies and governments to improve security. They force us to think about how we protect our information.

Hackers often work alone, but some join groups. These groups can be more effective, combining their skills to achieve bigger goals. They might target large corporations or government agencies. Their coordinated efforts can lead to significant breaches.

The tools and techniques used by hackers evolve constantly. They stay ahead of security measures by learning and adapting. This cat-and-mouse game between hackers and security experts drives innovation. It leads to better defenses and new ways to protect data.

The most famous hacker's journey is a mix of skill, curiosity, and sometimes, a disregard for the law. Their story serves as a reminder of the power of knowledge and the impact of technology on our lives. They show us the importance of vigilance and the need to stay one step ahead in the digital age.

In the end, the legacy of the most famous hacker is complex. They leave a mark on the world of technology and security. Their actions teach valuable lessons and inspire future generations of hackers and security experts. The balance between good and bad in their story reflects the broader challenges of our digital world.

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