“Hacking” means to find an ingenious solution to a problem. In the world of computers and the internet hacking has evolved to mean superior programming prowess that can be used for showing off, doing mischief, personal gains or even political activism.
10. Chaos Computer Club
Chaos Computer Club or CCC was formed in 1981 in Germany and now operates across national borders in many countries around the world. This group works to make information free and accessible to everyone. They became news when they hacked the German Bildschirmtext computer network and debited 134,000 Deutsch Marks from a Hamburg bank and returning the money the next day, having shown the flaws in the security system. They also hacked the US government’s computers and sold the source code of its operating system to the KGB in 1989.
9. Global KOS
Global KOS (pronounced chaos) wanted to create chaos in the online world on a global scale. Its members had handles such as AcidAngel, The Assassin and Shadow Hunter. They worked on developing tools for hackers that allowed even newbie hackers to cause a lot of harm without having much technical knowhow. The automated hacking tools created by this group have caused the crash of a lot of websites of politicians, MTV and Ku Klux Klan.
8. Legion of Doom
Legion of Doom or LOD was a hacker group that operated out of Texas. It was founded by a hacker called Lex Luthor (Vincent Louis Gelormine). It operated mostly in the 80s and early 90s. It published a technical journal that explained the techniques involved in hacking. They has a notorious rivalry with another hacker group called MOD.
7. Masters of Deception
MOD (or Masters of Deception) were a hacker group based in New York. It was named as a mockery of its arch-rivals LOD. It was founded by hackers Acid Phreak, Scorpion and HAC, to fight the massively popular LOD, which they thought had become too big and had lost its way. In 1990-91 LOD and MOD launched a series of attacks on each other’s members in what is now known as The Great Hacker War.
6. Red Hacker Alliance
Red Hacker Alliance is one of the largest hacker groups to have ever existed with over 80,000 members. It was started in 1998 by a group of patriotic youths who were against the ethnic riots in Jakarta, Indonesia. The group contains mostly Chinese hackers and joined with the Honker Union group of Chinese hackers. They carried out the 2008 attacks on CNN.com.
5. Level Seven Crew
Level Seven was a group of hackers who used hacking for political activism also known as “hacktivism” instead of personal gains. In 1999 they hacked over 60 computer systems such as that of NASA, Sheraton Hotels and The First American National Bank. They also hacked the website of the US embassy in China in protest of the accidental bombing of Chinese embassy by the US in Belagrade. They disbanded in 2000.
TeaMp0isoN was started in 2010 by a 16-year-old boy with the online handle of TriCk. The group uses hacking for political activism and works of transparency in government workings. They hacked into the British Anti-Terrorism Hotline to protest against the extradition of suspects to US. They’ve also hacked Facebook, the website of NATO and the English Defense League.
LulzSec is a hacker group that likes to expose security flaws in websites and networks. Their motto is “laughing at your security since 2011”. They have hacked the websites of Fox, X-factor, Sony, CIA and FBI. In 2012, top members of LulzSec were arrested by the FBI but a mere three months later, the group struck again by hacking a dating site for singles in the military.
Milw0rm was a hacktivist group that had anti-nuclear agenda and shot to fame by hacking India’s nuclear research facility, (Bhabha Atomic Research Center), BARC’s servers in 1998 and downloading 5 MB of data related to nuclear tests and destroyed data on 2 servers. This attack led to worldwide debate about the morality of the attack. The group consisted of teenagers from the UK, US, Russia, New Zealand. They’ve also hacked sites such as that of the Saudi Royal Family, Wimbledon, Drew Barrymore and the World Cup.
Anonymous is perhaps the most feared of today’s hacker groups. It is an amorphous group and more of an ideology than a technical group. They attacked the Sony PlayStation Network to oppose Sony’s lawsuit against a hacker named Geohot who cracked the PS3 system and uploaded a video on YouTube showing how to do it. This group protests against restrictions on free information, the stop online piracy act, cyber criminals, child porn sites, drug cartels and the church of Scientology.