Want to get caught up real quick on the history of hacking? This article on the 10 most notorious hacking groups of all time will help you. Don’t forget to check out our article on the 10 most notorious hackers of all time.
1. Lizard Squad
Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for the cyber attacks on Malaysia Airlines which resulted in website visitors being redirected to a page which read “404 – plane not found,” as well as a DDoS attack on Facebook which downed the popular social media network. Facebook denied being hacked. Malaysia Airlines claimed that they had not been hacked and that their domain had only been temporarily redirected elsewhere. They’ve also hacked Sony, Microsoft and Facebook.
The diverse history of work by Lizard Squad makes their intentions murky. They aren’t pure hacktivists since much of what they do is slapstick. The group is responsible for a high-profile hack of Sony’s Playstation Network and Microsoft Xbox Live. In August 2014 the group posted the ISIS flag on Sony’s servers and has made other allusions to the “cyber caliphate.” After the Playstation and Xbox hacks, authorities made arrests in England and the US.
We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.
Anonymous is a decentralized open online creation group known most for its hacking and Guy Fawkes masks. Reports posit Anonymous is comprised of thousands of “hacktivists.” The group has compromised government, religious and corporate websites.
The group has hacked the Pentagon, declared war on Scientology and attacked Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal in 2012’s Operation Payback for their refusal to process payments to WikiLeaks, leading WikiLeaks to adopt the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Anonymous supported Occupy Wall Street in 2011, hacking the New York Stock Exchange website.
Individuals have been arrested in the US, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Spain and Turkey for Anonymous related involvement.
LulzSec – Lulz Security abbreviated – formed as an Anonymous spinoff after the HBGary Federal hack of 2011. It’s motto was “Laughing at your security since 2011.” The group announced itself with a hack against Fox.com, then Sony Pictures in 2011. The group took the CIA website offline.
LulzSec became known for taunting its victims after an attack with analysts comparing the hacks to internet pranks. A June 2011 ‘50 days of Lulz’ statement announced the breakup of the group. On July 18, however, the group hacked the News Corporation, posting false reports about the death of Rupert Murdoch.
The FBI arrested LulzSec members in 2012 after the group’s leader, Sabu, turned them in. Prosecutor Sandip Patel said the group viewed themselves as “latter-day pirates.”
4. Syrian Electronic Army
Claiming to support the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Electronic Army claims to target political opposition group’s. It calls itself “a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths who could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria”.
Engaging the use of spamming, defacement, malware, phishing, and denial of service (DDoS) attacks, while oftentimes posting the Syrian flag on a victim’s website, some have posited the group is associated with the Syrian state. President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy Facebook pages and Twitter accounts have been targeted by the group, as well as news organizations and technology companies. Their tone is “serious and political to ironic and humorous.”
5. Chaos Computer Club (CCC)
The Chaos Computer Club’s mission is to expose security flaws. It generally does not only depend upon illegal activities. It’s one of the largest European hacking groups and was founded in Berlin during the early 1980s. The group made its mark after stealing 134,000 Deutsch Marks from a Hamburg bank through the Bildschirmtext page only to return the money the following day having completed its mission: to highlight a security flaw.
In an interview with OWNI, early CCC member Andy Müller-Maguhn stated: “we needed a lot of legal experts to advise us what we could or could not hack, and to help us distinguish between legal activities and grey areas of legality”. The group’s benevolent approach has allowed the CCC to become “an accepted and recognized entity because it has worked to educate the public about technology since the 1980s,” Müller-Maguhn added. Fitting for a German hacker ring, the group’s most recent attention has been on the mass surveillance complex. CCC Member Falk Garbsch stated:
There have to be consequences. The work of intelligence services has to be reviewed – as does their right to exist. If necessary, their aims and methods will have to be redefined. …We have to think about how these [shared] data are processed and where they can be allowed to resurface. And this is not just the challenge for 2015, but for the next 10 years.
The group has protested French nuclear tests, stolen money on live TV via Microsoft’s ActiveX; exploited COMP128 encryption algorithm of a GSM customer card, and analyzed the German federal government’s own malware; the group’s press release on the topic reads:
The malware can not only siphon away intimate data but also offers a remote control or backdoor functionality for uploading and executing arbitrary other programs. Significant design and implementation flaws make all of the functionality available to anyone on the internet.
The CCC might have a Marxist bend, having been caught selling source code from US corporations and governments to the Soviet Union’s secret police KGB.
6. Iran’s Tarh Andishan
Tarh Andishan apparently wants to control the world’s web-based systems. The group is estimated to have 20 members mostly based in Tehran, Iran. A talented hacker group, Tarh Andishan apparently grew out of a Stuxnet worm virus Iran claimed the US and Israel created.
The Iranian government doubled-down on its cyber warfare. The group uses self-propagating software, systems, backdoors, SQL injection, and other techniques. One of the attacks for which the group is best known is “Operation Cleaver.” This hacker group has apparently hacked airline gates and security systems. Check out Cylance’s report on Tarh Andishan (PDF) for more. According to the report most findings were left out due to the “grave risk to the physical safety of the world” the group allegedly poses.
7. The Level Seven Crew
This hacker group’s name is rumored to be inspired by the seventh level of hell from Dante’s Inferno, ‘the violent’ level. The group hacked 60 high profile computer systems (NASA, Sheraton Hotels, The First American national Bank) in 1999.
They hacked into the US Embassy in China’s website. The group disbanded in 2000.
Street-gang member Patrick Gregory founded globalHell. The group reportedly has destroyed data on 115 websites chalking up millions in damages. Gregory had turned to computer in order to get away from street gang life. His crew of hackers acted essentially the same as a street gang. The group allegedly wrote on the United States Army’s website “global hell will not die.” Gregory admitted in court to causing $2.5 million in hacking damages.
Started in 2010 by 16-year-old hacker with a pseudonym TriCk. TeaMp0isoN hacked into NATO, Facebook and the English Defense League, as well as hacking Tony Blair’s email account. After disbanding in 2012, the group rebranded itself in 2015 as a white-hat computer security research group.
10. Network Crack Program Hacker Group
Apparently formed in China in 1994, NCPH’s leader Tan Dailin is said to work for the Chinese army. The People’s Liberation Army is suspected of paying for the NCPH. The group is apparently based out of Zigon in Sichuan Province.
There are of course other groups such as Masters of Deception, Milw0rm, APT28, and others.