What is hacking?
Computer hacking is the act of identifying and exploiting system and network vulnerabilities in order to obtain unauthorized access to those systems. Not all hacking is malicious. White hat hackers may work in cyber security or as software engineers and testers seeking out vulnerabilities in order to fix them. Black hat hackers operate with malicious intent. That said, there is a large grey area populated by political activists and hackers who wear both hats.
Hacking costs companies and consumers trillions of dollars every year. According to CPO Magazine, by 2022, hacking attacks will cost a total $6 trillion, up from $2 trillion in losses reported in 2021. Much of the cyber crime problem stems from the same features of the internet from which we all benefit. Even the most amateur hacker can easily find all the tools they need online at virtually no cost.
The hacker onslaught didn’t occur overnight. It took decades of work by now-famous hackers to discover critical vulnerabilities and reveal the strategies that established the foundations of the internet and its free-for-all libertarianism. Here’s a look at the top ten most notorious hackers of all time.