List of computer criminals

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Convicted computer criminals are people who are caught and convicted of computer crimes such as breaking into computers or computer networks.[1] Computer crime can be broadly defined as criminal activity involving information technology infrastructure, including illegal access (unauthorized access), illegal interception (by technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system), data interference (unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data), systems interference (interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data), misuse of devices, forgery (or identity theft) and electronic fraud.[2]

Three dark-haired men wearing dark clothing. The man on the left is wearing a checkered shirt with a rain jacket. The man in the middle is wearing a printed tee with a rain jacket. The man on the right is wearing a black sweater.
Hacker Adrian Lamo (left) with Kevin Mitnick and Kevin Poulsen
Dark-haired man with unkempt hair. He is wearing a red shirt. A silver chain around his neck and an earring in his left ear can be seen.
Mark Abene, who was convicted of computer charges

In the infancy of the hacker subculture and the computer underground,[3] criminal convictions were rare because there was an informal code of ethics that was followed by white hat hackers.[4] Proponents of hacking claim to be motivated by artistic and political ends, but are often unconcerned about the use of criminal means to achieve them.[5] White hat hackers break past computer security for non-malicious reasons and do no damage, akin to breaking into a house and looking around.[6] They enjoy learning and working with computer systems, and by this experience gain a deeper understanding of electronic security.[6] As the computer industry matured, individuals with malicious intentions (black hats) would emerge to exploit computer systems for their own personal profit.[6]

Convictions of computer crimes, or hacking, began as early as 1984 with the case of The 414s from the 414 area code in Milwaukee. In that case, six teenagers broke into a number of high-profile computer systems, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Security Pacific Bank. On May 1, 1984, one of the 414s, Gerald Wondra, was sentenced to two years of probation.[7] In May, 1986, the first computer trespass conviction to result in a jail sentence was handed down to Michael Princeton Wilkerson, who received two weeks in jail for his infiltration of Microsoft, Sundstrand Corp., Kenworth Truck Co. and Resources Conservation Co.[8]

In 2006, a prison term of nearly five years was handed down to Jeanson James Ancheta, who created hundreds of zombie computers to do his bidding via giant bot networks or botnets.[9] He then sold the botnets to the highest bidder who in turn used them for Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.[10]

As of 2012, the longest sentence for computer crimes is that of Albert Gonzalez for 20 years.[11] The next longest sentences are those of 13 years for Max Butler,[12] 108 months for Brian Salcedo in 2004 and upheld in 2006 by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals,[13][14] and 68 months for Kevin Mitnick in 1999.[15]

Computer criminals[edit]

Name Handle Nationality Conviction(s) Sentencing date(s) Penalty
Michael Princeton Wilkerson The Sprinter United States Four counts of Illegal Computer Trespass to computers at: Microsoft, Sundstrand Data Control, Kenworth Truck Co. and Resources Conservation Co. (a Boeing subsidiary)[16] 7 May 1986 Two weeks jail sentence, 200 hours community service, Two years probation, Fined US$2,000[17]
Mark Abene Phiber Optik United States Misdemeanor theft-of-service for a free-call scam to a 900 number[1] 1991 35 hours of community service[1]
One count of computer trespass and one count of computer conspiracy[18] 1993 One-year jail sentence[18][19]
Jeanson James Ancheta Gobo United States Pleaded guilty to four federal charges of violating United States Code Section 1030, Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers, specifically subsections (a)(5)(A)(i), 1030 (a)(5)(B)(i) and 1030(b)[10] 8 May 2006 57 months in prison, forfeit a 1993 BMW and more than US$58,000 in profit
Restitution of US$15,000 to the U.S. federal government for infecting military computers[20][21]
Julian Paul Assange Mendax / profff Australia 31 charges of hacking and related charges. Pleaded guilty to 25 charges, the remaining 6 were dropped.[22] 5 December 1996 A recorded conviction on all counts, a reparation payment of A$2,100 to ANU (to be paid in 3 months time) and a A$5,000 good-behaviour bond.[23]
Andrew Auernheimer Weev United States (at time of sentencing) On November 20, 2012, was found guilty of one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization.[24] 20 November 2012 Auernheimer was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $73,000 in restitution.[25]
Hamza Bendelladj Bx1 Algerian Pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse, and 11 counts of computer fraud and abuse[26]

He is a co-creator of Trojan horse SpyEye. He stole from 217 American banks in total stealing $400 million and is alleged to have donated all the money to Africa and Palestine, though Trial documents did not mention any donations or charity activities.[27] Despite much false information on the internet Bendelladj did not get sentenced to death, and claims saying he donated any money to charity is almost impossible to verify.[28] The SpyEye software was also sold to other hackers and used as part of a botnet.

23 April 2016 15 years jail sentence
Adam Botbyl United States Conspiracy to steal credit card numbers from the Lowe's chain of home improvement stores[29] 16 December 2004 Two years and two months imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release[30]
Michael Calce MafiaBoy Canada Pleaded guilty to 56 charges of "mischief to data"[31][32] 12 September 2001 Eight months "open custody", by the Montreal Youth Court, one year of probation, restricted use of the Internet and a small fine[32][33]
David D'Amato Terri DiSisto United States Found guilty of email bombings which caused service outages at a number of colleges and universities; victims were young males from whom he solicited tickling videos who had stopped co-operating with his requests[34] 2001 Fined $5,000 (USD) and sentenced to six months in federal prison[35][36]
Nahshon Even-Chaim Phoenix Australia 15 charges including trespassing on the University of Texas computer network, altering data at NASA and the theft of the ZARDOZ file[37] 1993 One-year suspended sentence: A$1,000 good-behaviour bond and 500 hours community service[37]
Raphael Gray Curador United Kingdom Pleaded guilty to theft and hacking offenses which fall under the Computer Misuse Act and six charges of intentionally accessing sites containing credit card details and using this information for financial gain[38] 6 July 2001 Three years of psychiatric treatment after evidence emerged that he was suffering from a mental condition which needed medical treatment rather than incarceration[39]
Jerome Heckenkamp MagicFX United States Admitted the hacking and pleaded guilty to two felonies in 2004.[40] 2004 Sentenced to Time Served after spending 7 months in prison.[40]
Markus Hess Germany Found guilty of espionage February 15, 1990 one to two years suspended sentence
Jonathan James c0mrade United States Two counts of juvenile delinquency[41] 21 September 2000 Six-month prison sentence and probation until the age of eighteen[41]
Richard Jones Electron Australia Trespassing on the University of Texas computer network and theft of the ZARDOZ file[37] 1993 One year and six months suspended sentence, 300 hours of community service and psychiatric assessment and treatment[37]
Samy Kamkar samy United States Pleaded guilty to violating California Penal Code 502(c)(8) for creating the "Samy is my hero" XSS worm that spread across the MySpace social networking site[42] 2007 Three years of formal probation, 90 days of community service, restitution paid to MySpace, restrictions on computer use[42]
Cameron Lacroix cam0 United States Pleaded guilty to hacking into the cell-phone account of celebrity Paris Hilton and participated in an attack on data-collection firm LexisNexis Group that exposed personal records of more than 300,000 consumers[43] 13 September 2005 11 months in a Massachusetts juvenile detention facility[43]
Adrian Lamo United States One-count of computer crimes against Microsoft, LexisNexis and The New York Times[44] 15 July 2004 Six months detention at his parent's home plus two years probation and roughly US$65,000 in restitution[44]
Lewys Martin sl1nk United Kingdom Pleaded guilty to five counts of "unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of or prevent/hinder access to a computer", two of "unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences", one of "unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences", and one of "unauthorised access to computer material".
Hacking attempt on the websites of Kent Police, Cambridge University and Oxford University. Former member of NullCrew and said to have penetrated the servers of Department of Defense (DoD), Pentagon, NASA, NSA, other UK government websites.[45]
16 May 2013 Two years imprisonment[46]
Gary McKinnon Solo United Kingdom Accused in 2002 of perpetrating the "biggest military computer hack of all time," although McKinnon himself states that he was merely looking for evidence of free energy suppression and a cover-up of UFO activity and other technologies potentially useful to the public. 2002 On 16 October 2012, after a series of legal proceedings in Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May withdrew her extradition order to the United States.
Kevin Mitnick Condor United States Four counts of wire fraud, two counts of computer fraud and one count of illegally intercepting a wire communication[47] 9 August 1999 46 months in federal prison and US$4,125 in restitution[47]
Dennis Moran Coolio United States Misdemeanor charges of hacking[48] 9 March 2001 Nine months in jail and US$5,000 in restitution to each victim[48]
Robert Tappan Morris rtm United States Intentional access of federal interest computers without authorization thereby preventing authorized access and causing a loss in excess of US$1,000[49] 7 March 1991 Three years probation and 400 hours of community service in a manner determined by the Probation Office and approved by the Court[49]
Jeffrey Lee Parson T33kid United States Pleaded guilty on August 11, 2004 to one count of intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a protected computer via his version of the Blaster computer worm[50] 28 January 2005 18 months in prison and 100 hours of community service[51]
Chris Pile The Black Baron United Kingdom Writing and distributing computer viruses 1995 18 months in prison
Kevin Poulsen Dark Dante United States Pleaded guilty to seven counts of mail, wire and computer fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice[9] 10 April 1995 51 months in prison and ordered to pay US$56,000 in restitution[9]
Leonard Rose Terminus United States Illicit use of proprietary software (UNIX 3.2 code) owned by AT&T[1] and 2 counts of computer fraud and three counts of interstate transportation of stolen property.[52][53] 12 June 1991 One-year jail sentence[52][54]
Roman Seleznev Track2 Russian Convicted of 38 counts involving unauthorized access of business information systems and stealing over two million credit card numbers. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.[55][56][57] August 2016 and September 2017 Sentenced to 27 years' imprisonment for the 2016 conviction,[55][56] concurrent with sentence of 14 years for the second set of charges.[57]
David L. Smith Kwyjibo United States Pleaded guilty to knowingly spreading a computer virus, the Melissa virus, with the intent to cause damage[58] 1 May 2002 20 months in federal prison, US$5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service upon release[58]
Kristina Svechinskaya Russia Accused of using Zeus Trojan horse to attack thousands of bank accounts and opened at least five accounts in Bank of America and Wachovia.[59] It is estimated that with nine other people Svechinskaya had skimmed $3 million in total.[60] 24 June 2013 Signed a personal recognizance bond[61] and was released under $25,000 bail.[62] Ordered to pay $35,000 in damages.[63]
Ehud Tenenbaum Analyzer Israel Admitted to cracking US and Israeli computers, and pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wrongful infiltration of computerized material, disruption of computer use and destroying evidence[64] 15 June 2001 Six months of community service, one year of probation, a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined about US$18,000[64]
Kimberley Vanvaeck Gigabyte Belgium Wrote the Coconut-A, Sahay-A, and Sharp-A (first virus written in C#) computer viruses. Charged and arrested for computer data sabotage against internet security firm Sophos.[65] 16 February 2004 Released within 24 hours on bail due to being a minor (17 years old).[66]
Jan de Wit OnTheFly Netherlands Spreading data into a computer network with the intention of causing damage as the creator of the Anna Kournikova virus[67] 27 September 2001 150 hours community service[67][68][69]
Gerald Wondra The 414s United States Unauthorized access to computers at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and a Los Angeles bank[70] and two counts of "making harassing telephone calls"[71] 1 May 1983 Two years probation[70]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Paul Taylor (1999). Hackers: Crime in the Digital Sublime (November 3, 1999 ed.). Routledge; 1 edition. p. 200. ISBN 0-415-18072-4.
  3. ^ Steve Mizrach (2009). "The electronic discourse of the computer underground". Florida International University. Retrieved May 10, 2009. Gordon Meyer, a sociologist who has since left academia but continues to be involved in the computer industry (and to publish the Computer Underground Digest), wrote in his seminal paper The Social Organization of the Computer Underground that the "computer underground consists of actors in three roles – computer hackers, phone phreaks, and software pirates."
  4. ^ "Interview with Chris Davis". Public Broadcasting Service. 2001. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  5. ^ Brian Blomquist (May 29, 1999). "FBI'S web site socked as hackers target feds". New York Post. Retrieved May 8, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c Andrew Brandt (April 2, 2001). "Hacker Speak". PC World. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  7. ^ "Computer User Sentenced". The New York Times. May 1, 1984. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  8. ^ Emery, Julie (7 May 1986). "Light jail term for young hacker". The Seattle Times.
  9. ^ a b c pg 26—Richard Gissel (2005). Digital Underworld (August 23, 2005 ed.). Lulu. p. 222. ISBN 1-4116-4423-9.
  10. ^ a b Robert Vamosi (January 27, 2006). "Cybercrime does pay; here's how". CNET Reviews. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  11. ^ Zetter, Kim (March 25, 2010). "TJX Hacker Gets 20 Years in Prison". Wired. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  12. ^ Poulsen, Kevin (February 12, 2010). "Record 13-Year Sentence for Hacker Max Vision". Wired. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  13. ^ "Hacker Sentenced to Prison for Breaking into Lowe's Companies' Computers with Intent to Steal Credit Card Information". December 15, 2004. Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  14. ^ "Crazy-Long Hacker Sentence Upheld". Wired. July 11, 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
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  17. ^ Hopkins, Jack (7 May 1986). "Computer intruder gets 2 weeks in jail". The Seattle Post Intelligencer.
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  46. ^ Man jailed for attempting to compromise websites, Kent Police, United Kingdom, 16 May 2013. Archived September 25, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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