Hacking Criminals: 10 Convicted Computer Criminals
Updated: Jun 12, 2021
Kevin David Mitnick
Mitnick was convicted of phone fraud, computer fraud and hacking into networks to steal
computer software. Mitnick was most well known for his cell phone hacking spree, specifically
the hacking of Digital Equipment Corporation’s network to steal their software, in addition to
hacking major cell phone companies, Nokia and Motorola. He was considered one of the most
wanted computer hackers in the U.S., but his arrest came after he cracked into fellow hacker
Tsutomu Shimomura’s computer and was discovered by the FBI in 1995. He was sentenced to
five years in prison.
Jeanson James Ancheta
Jeanson James Ancheta, a member of the infamous “botmaster underground” group, was arrested
for selling armies of infected computers to hackers, with the intention of sending large quantities
of spam across the Internet, causing damage to protected computers, causing damage to
computers used by the federal government in national defense and hacking protected computers
without authorization to commit fraud and money laundering. Ancheta was sentenced to 57
months in federal prison and required to pay $15,000 in restitution for the damages he caused to
national defense networks.
Robert Tappan Morris
Robert Tappan Morris was convicted of intentionally accessing Federal interest computers
without authorization, therefore, preventing authorized access that caused $1,000 in losses. He
did so by creating the first worm, a computer virus, which was released on the Internet and
drastically slowed down computers and crippled the Internet. Morris was fined, placed on
probation for three years and had to complete 400 community service hours. This case was the
first prosecution under the United States Code: Title 18, 1030, which involves fraud and related
activity in connection with computers.
Gary McKinnon, a British hacker, was convicted of breaking into U.S. military computers, in an
attempt to find hidden alien technology that he thought would be the key to solving the global
energy crisis. While hacking, McKinnon admitted to deleting files, hard drives and other
materials that cost the government $700,000 to fix. McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s
syndrome, which his attorneys have used in his defense, while the U.S. government argues his
hack jobs were intended to breach American defense systems.
Kevin Poulsen, also known as the “Dark Dante,” was convicted of wire fraud and money
laundering. Considered one of the smartest and sneakiest hackers, Poulsen managed to break-in
to the FBI’s database, as well as hacked the phone lines to Los Angeles radio station KIIS,
making him the 102nd caller and winner of a Porsche and a Hawaii trip. Poulsen was sentenced
to five years in prison.
Gerald Wondra was one the six men involved in a 1983 computer hacking case, called The 414s,
in which hackers broke into a number of secured computer systems at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Security Pacific Bank. Wondra was placed on
probation for two years.
The Wales teenager, Raphael Gray, was arrested for hacking the databases of e-commerce sites
to steal credit card numbers and personal information of 26,000 American, British and credit
card holders. Gray, who was also known as the “Curador,” admitted to downloading the credit
card numbers, but claimed he didn’t do it for personal gain and was instead trying to help the ecommerce sites. Gray’s penalty was three years of psychiatric treatment.
Cameron Lacroix was convicted of illegally accessing celebrity Paris Hilton’s cell phone
account, and hacking into consumer data giant LexisNexis Inc., which made the personal records
of more than 300,000 consumers public. Because Lacroix was a juvenile when the crime
occurred, he had to spend 11 months in a juvenile detention facility, and was not allowed to use
or own a cell phone, computer or any electronic device that has access to the Internet.
Jeffrey Lee Parson
Jeffrey Lee Parson was convicted of intentionally causing and attempting to cause damage to a
protected computer with his version of the Blaster worm, called Blaster.B worm. He released the
worm from his house, and it spread to computers using the Microsoft operating systems.
Parson’s house was searched by federal agents on suspicion of writing and releasing malicious
computer programs. He was arrested at 18 years old and was sentenced to 18 months in federal
prison, as well as community service hours and restitution.
Adrian Lamo, also known as “the homeless hacker,” would sleep in abandoned buildings and
hack computers at Internet cafes and public libraries. He was arrested for breaking into the
databases of high-profile organizations, such as Microsoft, Yahoo and the New York Times.
Lamo was placed on probation for two years.