Although those involved in hacking schemes are often able to hide their true identities behind a computer screen, sooner or later many of them end up in police custody. One of the most recent examples of this is Lauri Love, a U.K. citizen who will be extradited to the U.S. on charges of hacking. Love, along with associates at Anonymous, broke into computer systems hosted by the U.S. Army, the FBI, the Federal Reserve and the Missile Defense Agency, according to The Atlantic’s Yasmeen Serhan. He faces up to 99 years behind bars.
Of course, Love hasn’t been convicted of anything yet and it remains to be seen just how long he would go to prison if he was, but the point here is that cyber crime very often ends in handcuffs. To discourage any would-be hackers, we’ve put together this list of cyber criminals who were eventually caught by the authorities.
Marcel Lehel Lazar AKA Guccifer
The great power of the internet is that it has created a global community. Sadly, this level of connectivity is so powerful that cyber criminals often use it to their advantage. Hacking people or organizations in other countries often allows for an extra level of protection from the authorities. Marcel Lehel Lazar thought this added security would help hide him, but of course, it didn’t.
Lazar went by the hacker handle “Guccifer,” and during his reign of terror, he hacked everyone from the Bush family to Colin Powell. He’s also credited as the one who discovered the private email address of Hillary Clinton, although Paula Reid of CBS News reported that he was not the one behind the breaching of Clinton’s server.
“Cyber terrorism has become a very real threat.”
As it is with many hackers who go after prominent political figures, Lazar was eventually caught and brought to justice. He’s since been sentenced to 52 months in prison in the U.S. Of course, Lazar also broke laws in his native Romania, and he will also be serving seven years in jail there before he is brought to the U.S.
Ardit Ferizi AKA Th3Dir3ctorY
Cyber terrorism has become a very real threat in the past few years. Gaining access to personal information allows for some pretty nefarious actions, such as those perpetrated by Ardit Ferizi. The Kosovo native hacked into a U.S.-based retailer and scanned the customer email list, looking for ones connected to government or military workers, according to Patch’s Mary Ann Barton.
Once Ferizi got all the information he needed, he compiled a list of 1,351 people and sent the data to individuals within ISIL. This allowed the terrorist group to send out a threat aimed at the professionals contained in the data dump.
“We have your names and addresses,” ISIL wrote. “We are in your emails and social media accounts, we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands.”
Ferizi was eventually discovered, and he was brought to the U.S, where he pled guilty to his role in this whole plot. He’s since been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
During the birth of the internet, the average person wasn’t really sure what hackers were capable of. This lead to a a lot of myths when it came to cyber criminals, and there are few better examples of this than Kevin Mitnick. When he was finally caught in 1995, Mitnick’s notoriety had caused people to think he could launch nuclear missiles by whistling a specific tune into a telephone.
Of course, none of that was true, but Mitnick did have quite the real reputation. According to Big Think’s Jason Gots, one of Mitnick’s major crimes was something called “phone phreaking,” which is basically where a person investigates a telecommunication system for weak spots. He would use social engineering techniques to do everything from tapping phones to receiving private phone numbers.
Mitnick was eventually caught and served five years for his crimes. He’s since discovered the error of his ways and has become a cyber security expert, working with organizations to ensure they don’t fall victim to the kinds of attacks he employed.