Posts Tagged ‘Hackers’

The head US National Security Agency recently warned that the notorious internet hacking group, Anonymous, may soon have the ability to attack the entire US power grid. However, this does not mean hackers are all bad people. There are White Hat or ethical hacker too.

They identify security weaknesses in computer systems and networks but instead of taking advantage of these loopholes, expose the weakness to the system’s administrators allowing them to fix the breach. So, like everywhere there are good and bad hackers. Here are some international hacking heroes and villians.

Hero: Steve Wozniak


Co-founder of Apple and the company’s original engineering brain, Woz got his first kicks out of the Blue Box, a phone phreaking device that allowed him and Steve Jobs to make long-distance calls for free by imitating the tones that routed signals on the AT&T network. The duo sold more than 100 Boxes for $150 each.

Hero: Tim Berners-Lee


The World-Wide Web was not on his mind when Lee and a friend were caught hacking at the Oxford University.

Both were banned from using the university’s computers during their study tenure. Maybe that’s why Lee soldered one for himself using iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television.

Hero: Linus Torvalds


The star of the ultimate hacking fairytale. Torvalds cobbled together a makeshift operating system titled ‘Linux’ and shared the program at an online forum.

Feeds poured in with fixes, improvements and new features. Code contribution became the USP of Linux, an operating system built on central hacker ethic: free for all.

Hero: Tsutomu Shimomura


Not an intuitive hacker, he was prodded to showcase his skills when Kevin Mitnick hacked Shimomura’s home computer.

The result: a good cop bad cop chase that ended with Mitnick in jail. Shimomura didn’t escape scrutiny: he hacked Mitnick’s cell phone to track him to an apartment near Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Hero: Richard Stallman


Dubbed the father of free software. He earned the badge as a ‘staff hacker’ at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he cracked a password system.

He moved on to tinkering with the code of a printer and finally ended up with the big one: The GNU Project that writes free software and mass produces its operating system.

Villian: Kim Dotcom


Known as Kim Schmitz, Kim Tim Jim Vestor and ‘Kimble’, Dotcom’s hacking credentials are dubious. Be it cracking Citibank to transfer $20 million to Greenpeace, or hacking Osama Bin Laden’s Sudanese account, no claim has been verified.

But he is known for phone phreaking and has been arrested for online piracy.

Villian: Kevin Mitnick


The US Department of Justice says he was “the most wanted computer criminal in United States history.” Mitnick started by bypassing punch cards to hitch free rides on LA buses. Later, he hacked databases of corporate giants like Nokia and Motorala.

Finally a peeved Shimomura out-hacked him and Mitnick was jailed for 5 years.

Villian: Jonathan James


At the age of 16, James installed a backdoor into the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency server and messed with user names, passwords and strategic emails. Next up was the NASA database from which he stole software worth $1.7 million. The result: in 2000, James became the first juvenile to be imprisoned for hacking.

Villian: Kevin Poulsen


Law officers think he was “the Hannibal Lecter of computer crime” but hacker buddies knew him as Dark Dante.

Poulsen’s biggest hit: cracking Los Angeles radio’s phone lines to ensure he was caller number 102, slated to win a Porsche. The FBI got interested when he hacked their database and soon it was prison time for Poulsen.

Villian: Robert Tappan Morris


The brain behind the first computer worm to attack the Internet – the Morris Worm. Released in 1988, it infected over 6,000 machines. Morris claimed he wanted to test the reach of the Net. Law officers didn’t buy the theory: he served three years’ probation, 400 hours of community service and paid a fine of $10,500.

Recently, websites of several global corporations have been at the recieving end of hacker attacks. WikiLeak ‘supporters’ are said to be plotting attacks on perceived enemies of the publisher, which has angered US authorities by releasing details of 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables. Websites of credit-card giants MasterCard and Visa were attacked by so-called WikiLeak supporters retaliating attempts to block the website. Using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, hundreds of cyber activists joined forces and temporarily disabled computer servers by bombarding them with requests.


So in this week post let we see how these cyber activists / ‘hackers’ bring down a website:

Have you heard everyone as a “Weapon of Choice”, even hackers too and it’s simply called “LOIC“, This weapon of choice is a piece of software named a “Low Orbit Ion Cannon” (LOIC) which was developed to help Internet security experts test the vulnerability of a website to a DDoS attack. The LOIC is available for download on the Internet.

The LOIC can be controlled centrally by an administrator in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel, a type of computer chat room, which can seize control of a network of computers whose combined power is used in a DDoS attack.

The attack is aimed at the target website and when the LOICs are activated they flood the website with a deluge of data requests at the same time. The DDoS attack prevents the overloaded server from responding to legitimate requests and slows down the website to a crawl or shuts it down totally. The attacks are coordinated in the IRC channel. During a recent attack around 3,000 people were active on the channel at one stage.

The current situation has some historical parallels to a decade ago, when, in February, 2000, several of the biggest US ecommerce and media sites came under attack in denial-of-service attacks. Targets included, eBay, E-Trade, and CNN, the news site.

The ecommerce sites endured substantial losses during the outages, at a time when the Internet shopping phenomenon remained in its infancy.

The above video was delivered by aliencode of a group of Internet activists calling themselves Operation Payback have taken credit for shutting down the website of a bank that earlier Monday froze funds belonging to WikiLeaks. Announcing its successful hack on a Twitter account, the group declared, “We will fire at anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks.” Operation Payback also promised a hack attack on PayPal, the online payment service that last week cut off WikiLeaks, denying the group a major tool for collecting donations from supporters. A lot to come on this going forward, who knows which other major corporations are next in line, time will take us there…