From curious teenagers pranking their way to dark web infamy to ransomware authors to organized cybercrime gangs, hacking is a serious business. With cybercrime costing the world almost $600 Billion last year and a hacker attack every 39 seconds, it’s no wonder that a certified ethical hacking course is in such high demand amongst both IT professionals and students. The world of hacking is truly fascinating, but some incidents rise above others. Here are 10 of the most interesting facts about hacking that you should know about:
#1: Apple & Microsoft Founders Used Hacking For Fun
Apple and Microsoft might today be the two most respected technology companies in the world, but that wasn’t always the case with their founders.
Apple Cofounder Stever Wozniak didn’t need to complete an ethical hacking training course to figure out how to hack into his school’s computer system and was expelled from the University of Colorado. Both he and Steve Jobs made and sold ‘Blue Boxes’, a device to get free phone services illegally. Using one of the devices, Wozniak even crank-called the Pope’s residence at the Vatican and pretended to be Henry Kissinger.
When Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates was 13, he hacked into his school’s system to change the scheduling software to be the only boy in a class full of girls. At 15, he was caught hacking into a major corporation’s computer and was forced to give up using computers for an entire year.
#2. The Whistler Was Not Just A Comic Book Villain
Once the world’s most wanted hacker, Kevin Mitnick was hounded by the FBI for over two years till he was finally arrested in 1995. His crimes? He went on an intrusion spree, targeting most telecommunications companies as well as tech firms like IBM, Nokia, and Sun Microsystems. In prison, he was kept in solitary confinement for eight months because law enforcement had reason to believe he could “… dial into the NORAD modem via a payphone from prison and communicate with the modem by whistling to launch nuclear missiles.”
#3: Hunting For UFOs Can Be Expensive
In what prosecutor’s called the biggest military computer hack of all time, between 2001 and 2002, dozens of US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense computers as well as 16 Nasa computers were hacked. The perpetrator was a 40-year-old from London called Gary McKinnon, allegedly looking for classified documents and information on UFOs. The hacks caused $700,000 in damages to government systems.
#4: Pen Testing To Power Plant Control
Pen testing or penetration testing is one of the modules you learn in an ethical hacking training course at any ethical hacking institute. It involves learning to penetrate a system to find out the weakness in its security infrastructure. In 2007, an IBM researcher was able to gain complete control over an American Nuclear plant just by hacking it over the internet. In his words, “It turned out to be one of the easiest penetration tests I’d ever done. By the first day, we had penetrated the network. Within a week, we were controlling a nuclear power plant. I thought, ‘Gosh. This is a big problem.'”
#5: Trump’s Supporters Forced Seizures
Over the years, multiple attacks have been made on people with epilepsy. In 2008, hackers induced seizures by hacking into an epileptic support forum and leaving behind flashing animation screens. In 2016, Kurt Eichenwald, an epileptic journalist and anti-Trump journalist was sent a strobing GIF as a tweet that triggered an immediate seizure. The message sent was “You deserve a seizure for your postings.”
#6: Ex-Employee Uses Hacking For Revenge
Any ethical hacking training institute will try to instil the need to use hacking only for morally sound purposes. After all, anyone who diligently completes a certified ethical hacking course gains great power and even greater responsibility. However, research suggests about 10-20% of infiltrations might be inside jobs or by disgruntled former employees privy to sensitive information. After being fired from OMEGA in 1996, Timothy Lloyd an 11-year employee of the company planted a hacking time bomb within the firm’s systems that would delete the main Operating System within two weeks. The firm ended up losing over $10 million and fired 80 employees as a result.
#7: Money Heist Through Mimicry
One of the largest bank heists ever involved the installation of spy software on bank computers. Hackers eventually learned how to mimic employees’ workflows by studying their screen activity. In 2014, they used this knowledge to siphon over $ 1 Billion in total from 100 banks spread over 25 countries. The amount transferred from each bank ranged between $ 2.5 to $10 million. The cybercriminals were said to be from Russia, Ukraine, China and parts of Europe.
As you can see, the history of hacking is littered with fascinating but often potentially harmful and expensive hacking incidents. To avoid such incidents in the future, more and more companies and organisations are investing in cybersecurity creating a demand for ethical hackers.
Know more about how you can step up to the plate through a reputed ethical hacking institute like Appin Indore, Who knows, maybe you’ll be making (positive!) headlines for your hacking chops soon.