Everyone loves hearing about tales of captivating burglaries, genius crime sprees, and illegal activity so complicated yet compelling that it forces you to sit back in awe and amazement. The following hacks below are all amazing in their own way. Put into practice by geniuses that wanted to make a quick fortune or wanted to solely learn about computer systems and how they work, these are the greatest hacks of all time.
Kevin Poulsen Hacks Himself a Porsche
Well, not exactly, but in a sense Kevin Poulsen had the ability to hack every listener radio contest put forth by a particular radio station in the Los Angeles area in the 1990’s. By learning how to whistle into a payphone in an effort to get free phone calls, he hacked a radio station’s phone lines in order to win a call-in contest, which the prize was a Porsche. He also gained $20,000 in prize money. Eventually, Poulsen was captured and sentenced to 51-months in prison.
The Morris Worm
Near the end of 1988, Robert Tappan Morris released a worm across the Net that brought down one-tenth of the Internet; more than 6,000 computer systems at the time. While that number does not seem impressive today, it was a huge number in 1988. Imagine someone bringing down 1/10 of the entire Internet today, and take it from us: the results would be disastrous on a global scale.
Sony’s PlayStation Network Service is Brought to its Knees
Hacker/activist group LulzSec hacked Sony’s PlayStation Network service and caused its network to be crippled for over a month. In the end, the cost of the attack ranged from $1 billion to $2 billion (the exact amount has yet to be discovered yet), with thousands upon thousands of user data being leaked and stolen over the month. It is seen as perhaps the costliest hack ever seen, and was a huge blow to Sony as a whole.
The Hack That Nearly Began a War
In 1996, Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce nearly started a war when they attempted to break into the U.S. military system. Both men being British, it was believed they also hacked into a North Korean system during a time in which negotiations with the United States over its nuclear-weapons program was at a sensitive point. Fortunately, the hack was targeting a South Korean government agency instead, resulting in this hack being more about “what could have been,” rather than “what was.”
The Theft of 45.6 Million Credit Card Numbers
Over an 18-month period, Albert Gonzalez masterminded the hacking of TJX Companies, thus stealing approximately 45.6-million credit and debit card numbers, and also breaching a database of 40-million records at CardSystems Solutions. Moreover, they also compromised various other cards from retailers such as Office Max, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, and more. In total, Gonzalez stole over $200 million due to his hacks.