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Top 18 Most Famous Ethical Hackers in the World

27th Jun, 2024
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    Top 18 Most Famous Ethical Hackers in the World

    While hacking is illegal, ethical hacking is a legal method of breaching a security system to detect potential security threats. Ethical hackers look at strategies to see if there are any flaws that cybercriminals could take advantage of. Ethical hackers are valuable in today's modern era, as businesses face extraordinary levels of risk and dangerous cyber threats. As a result ethical hacking and knowing to protect your digital information is more vital than ever, providing firms with an awareness of what they need to do to close big and unanticipated cyber vulnerabilities.

    As the skills gap increases, this list may assist in encouraging skilled persons to put their ethical hacking skills to the next level, delivering services that are soon becoming irreplaceable. If the field of cybersecurity interests you then you can check out some of the best Ethical Hacking Course online with certificate

    In this blog, let's discuss the top 18 most famous ethical hackers in the world.

    Top 18 Most Famous Ethical Hackers in the World

    Here is a list of world best ethical hackers, including those who once were the 'black hat' cybercriminals and have since paid for their misdeeds before applying their remarkable abilities.

    Most Famous Ethical Hackers in the World
    1. Mark Abene10. Dan Kaminsky
    2. Johan Helsingius11. Ian Murphy
    3. Linus Torvalds12. Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce
    4. Kevin Mitnick13. Jeanson James Ancheta
    5. Robert Morris14. Michael Calce
    6. Charlie Miller15. Julian Assange
    7. Greg Hoglund16. Gary McKinnon
    8. Tsutomu Shimomura17. Adrian Lamo
    9. HD Moore18. Aaron Swartz

    1. Mark Abene

    Mark Abene, formerly of the hacker organizations Legion of Doom and Masters of Deception, now goes by the moniker Phiber Optik. He was among the first ethical hackers to openly explain the value and benefits of ethical hacking as a commercial tool. On-site vulnerability assessment, reverse engineering, cyber fraud investigation, and security awareness programs are some of Abene's major services. He is the famous cybersecurity director at Evian. He was formerly the chief code inspector at Identity Guard. He co-founded TraceVector and worked for Major League Baseball Advanced Media as a coder, programmer, and contractor.

    2. Johan Helsingius

    Julf, or Johan Helsingius, rose to prominence in the 1980s when he launched penet.fi, the biggest and most popular private remailer.Johan was also in charge of product development for Eunet International, the first pan-European internet company. He is currently a board member of Technologia Incognita, an Amsterdam-based hackerspace, and uses his cyber expertise to assist communication firms around the globe.

    3. Linus Torvalds

    Linus Torvalds is regarded as one of history's greatest hackers. He gained prominence as the creator of Linux, a widely used Unix-based OS. Linux is open-source software, with tens of thousands of professional developers contributing to its Kernel. On the other hand, Torvalds retains final authority over what new code is integrated into the Linux kernel. About 2% of the Linux kernel was authored by Torvalds alone as of 2006. He wants to be simple and have fun while creating the best operating system.

    4. Kevin Mitnick

    Kevin Mitnick is one of the best white hat hackers in the world. He was previously the FBI's Most Wanted Hacker after breaking into 40 large organisations for no reason. He is now a sought-after security expert for 500 firms and government organisations all around the globe. Mitnick's security observations have helped him to be a commentator, security consultant, and a keynote speaker on CNN, CNBC, FOX News, BBC, and 60 Minutes, to name a few. . He's also written a few books, including Art of Intrusion and Art of Deception.

    5. Robert Morris

    The Morris Worm, the first computer worm to be released on the World wide web, was created by Robert Morris. He is known for being among the world famous hackers. The worm has the power to slow down computers to the point where they are unusable. He was sentenced to three years of probation, Four hundred hours of community service, and a $10,500 fine due to his actions! Morris is currently employed at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab as a university professor.

    6. Charlie Miller

    Charlie Miller spent five years as a computer hacker for the National Security Agency after receiving his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame. He's also worked as a consultant for Twitter and Uber ATC's security teams. He won the Super Bowl of computer hacking four times in the yearly Pwn2Own contest. When the iPhone and Android phones were released, he was the first individual with permission to breach them remotely. The ethical hacker, covered in various magazines and TV shows, has also shown how Fiat Chrysler automobiles can be hacked to operate the radio, brakes, and even the steering wheel! Miller is currently employed by Cruise as a security professional for autonomous car security.

    7. Greg Hoglund

    Greg Hoglund is a computer forensics expert who has contributed significantly to the world's quest to combat harmful threat actors. Physical memory forensics, hacker attribution, and virus detection are some of his most well-known areas of expertise. When his creative creativity is examined, his expertise in penetration testing shines through.

    Hoglund has patented fault injection methods utilised in software testing, making him a significant white hat asset. He's also the founder of several businesses, including HBGary, a technological security firm. The company became a member of the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance in 2008.

    8. Tsutomu Shimomura

    Tsutomu-Shimomura rose to prominence after assisting the FBI to track and locate Kevin Mitnick in 1995. In 2000, he wrote Takedown, a book about the quest. In his earlier years, the Japanese computer security specialist worked as a research scientist at the University of California. He also served at the National Security Agency, where he increased awareness about cellular phone cyber threats. Shimomura is the CEO and creator of Neofocal, a firm that builds smart LED networks.

    9. HD Moore

    H. D. Moore is a hacker, free software coder, and network security consultant. He is the creator of the Metasploit Project and the creator of the Metasploit Framework, a vulnerability scanning software bundle.

    He was the chief research officer at Rapid7, a Boston-based cybersecurity data and analytics software and cloud solutions business. Until he resigned from Rapid7 in 2016, he was the Metasploit Framework's project leader. Moore joined Atredis Partners as vice president of research and innovation after leaving Rapid7 and launched Rumble, Inc., a software company that creates Rumble Network Discovery.

    10. Dan Kaminsky

    Dan Kaminsky is a well-known security researcher who rose to prominence in 2008. He was the one who discovered a particular DNS system fault that allowed any hacker to perform cache poisoning attacks on nearly every nameserver.

    Kaminsky has been at the forefront of the battle against cybercrime whenever possible. He was among the first to notice that Conficker-infected hosts all shared a characteristic that could be detected. In addition, he found many weaknesses in the SSL protocol, which were quickly rectified. Kaminsky also developed Interpolique, a tool that assists developers in dealing with injection assaults in a convenient manner.

    11. an Murphy

    Popularly known as Captain Za, Ian Murphy touts himself as "the first hacker ever convicted of a crime." Ian's profession as a master hacker was made up in 1986 when he and his jobless spouse chose to begin a company.

    He has a lengthy history of using computers and the Internet to scam people. Forging Email headers and sending out third-party threatening letters are two of his favourite hobbies.

    12. Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce

    In 1996, a group of British hackers led by Matthew Bevan and Richard Pryce broke into numerous military systems, including Griffiss Air Force Base, the Defence Information System Agency, and the Korean Atomic Research Institute (KARI). After dumping KARI information onto American military systems, Bevan (Kuji) and Pryce (Datastream Cowboy) have been charged with nearly initiating a third world war. Bevan claims he was attempting to prove a UFO conspiracy idea, and his case resembles Gary McKinnon's, as per the BBC.

    Whether or not they had malicious intent, Bevan and Pryce showed that even military systems are accessible.

    13. Jeanson James Ancheta

    Jeanson James Ancheta has no desire to break into computer systems to steal credit card information or smash networks in the name of social justice. Ancheta was more interested in using bots, which are software-based robots that may attack and eventually control computer systems. In 2005, he was able to hack over 400,000 machines via a succession of large-scale "botnets." He then rented these devices out to advertising organisations and was paid to actively deploy bots or adware on certain systems, according to Ars Technica. Ancheta was given a 57-month jail sentence, and a hacker was sentenced to prison for using the botnet technique for the first time.

    14. Michael Calce

    Michael Calce, now a cyber security specialist, earlier known as "Mafiaboy," was 15 years old when he learned how to take over university computer networks in February 2000. He united their resources to take down Yahoo, the most popular search engine of the era. Within a week, he'd shut down Dell, eBay, CNN, and Amazon's websites with a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that overburdened business servers and led them to fail. Calce's wake-up call was possibly the most shocking for cyber-attack investors and internet proponents.

    15. Julian Assange

    Assange is an Australian-born computer programmer and the founder of WikiLeaks, a non-profit worldwide whistleblowing organisation.  In November of that year, Assange rose to fame after WikiLeaks revealed US military documents from Afghanistan and Iraq and US cable dumps. Manning was charged with and convicted to 35 years in jail in 2013 for breaking the 1917 Espionage Act, among other things.

    16. Gary McKinnon

    Gary McKinnon is a well-known hacker and systems administrator. He was notably suspected for the "world's largest military computer breach." He had potentially compromised the United States government's Army, Air Force, Navy, and NASA networks.

    In interviews with the media, he has frequently stated that his sole purpose was to locate proof of UFOs, antigravity tech, and the restriction of "free energy" that could be valuable to the general people.

    17. Adrian Lamo

    Adrián Alfonso Lamo Atwood was an American cyberattack analyst and hacker. He categorized himself as a 'grey hat hacker.' Lamo rose to prominence by getting into several high-profile computer networks, including The New York Times, Yahoo, and Microsoft, which led to his imprisonment in 2003. Lamo is most known for exposing US soldier Chelsea Manning for leaking tens of thousands of classified US government information to Wikileaks.

    18. Aaron Swartz

    Aaron Hillel Swartz was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist who lived from November 8, 1986, until January 11, 2013. He was involved in making the RSS web feed format, the Markdown publishing format, the Creative Commons organization, and the web.py website framework and joined the social media website Reddit six months after it was founded. He started the online group Demand Progress, most known for its anti-Stop Online Piracy Act movement.

    Top Skills for Ethical Hackers
    Skills for Ethical Hackers

    Gaining success as an Ethical Hacker or to become the best hacker in the world requires a mix of a good number of skills. Here I am highlighting the Top 10 skills:  

    1. Networking Skills: Know your way around networks like the back of your hand. Understanding how they operate, protocols, and the nitty-gritty of TCP/IP is your playground. 
    2. Operating System Mastery: Be the maestro of operating systems, especially Linux and Windows. Know them inside out because ethical hacking often involves dancing across different OS landscapes. 
    3. Programming Prowess: Speak the language of code. Python, Java, C++, pick your weapon. Being able to script and understand code is like having a magic wand in ethical hacking. 
    4. Web Technologies knowledge: Dive deep into web technologies. Understand how websites work, how to find vulnerabilities in web applications, and, of course, be friends with HTTP and HTTPS. 
    5. Cryptography Skills: Unravel the secrets of cryptography. Know how to encrypt and decrypt like a secret agent. It's the shield and sword of the ethical hacker. 
    6. Security Tools skills: Play around with security tools. Get cozy with tools like Wireshark, Nmap, Burp Suite, and Metasploit. They're your trusty sidekicks in the ethical hacking realm. 
    7. Social Engineering Savvy: Develop a sixth sense for social engineering. Understand how people tick, because sometimes the weakest link in security is a human one. 
    8. Forensic Investigation Skills: Be the Sherlock Holmes of the digital world. Learn the art of digital forensics to trace and understand the footprints left in the cyber-sand. 
    9. Continuous Learning Attitude: Embrace the fact that the tech world never stands still. Stay hungry for knowledge, always be on the lookout for new techniques, vulnerabilities, and tools. 
    10. Legal Knowledge: Understand the legal landscape. Know the dos and don'ts because, hey, you're an ethical hacker. You hack with a conscience. 

    Unlock your potential with ITIL Foundation Certification. Gain the essential skills and knowledge to excel in the IT industry. Enroll now!


    This article, which includes some of the most famous white hat hackers around the globe, has demonstrated that hacking is a highly skilled activity. Their motivation for hacking distinguishes hackers. Ethical hackers provide a safety net for your companies and communities by ensuring network security, email, devices, and databases. Certifications like KnowledgeHut Best Ethical Hacking course online with certificate and cyber security training will teach you how to safeguard your company from harmful hackers.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Who is the youngest hacker in the world?
    Kristoffer von Hassel, at age five he exposed security lapses in the Microsoft Live Xbox system.
    2Who is the highest paying company for ethical hackers in the world?

    Google pays $2,16,203 per year (Source: Glassdoor) to ethical hackers on an average in the US, which is a lot higher than the average salary of ethical hackers in the US. Google hires some of the top hackers in the world. 

    3Who is India's famous ethical hacker? 

    One of the most well-known figures in the Indian hacking scene in its early years, Ankit Fadia wrote his first article about hacking when he was just 15 years old. He has gained recognition for his cybersecurity-related educational programs and workshops. 

    4Which country has the best ethical hackers in the world in the world?

    The following are the world's most potent cybersecurity nations with best cyber hackers in the world, according to the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs team at Harvard's Kennedy School: 

    • United States
    • China 
    • United Kingdom 
    • Russia 
    • Netherlands 
    • France 
    • Germany 
    • Canada 
    • Japan 
    • Australia 
    5Does Google hire ethical hackers? 

    Indeed, ethical hackers are employed by them for "penetration testing," which entails trying to breach Google software to make sure security holes aren't there. Another name for these hackers is "white hat hackers." 

    6Who hacked NASA in 1999?

    Jonathan James, at age fifteen he hacked Nasa in 1999.


    Vitesh Sharma

    Blog Author

    Vitesh Sharma, a distinguished Cyber Security expert with a wealth of experience exceeding 6 years in the Telecom & Networking Industry. Armed with a CCIE and CISA certification, Vitesh possesses expertise in MPLS, Wi-Fi Planning & Designing, High Availability, QoS, IPv6, and IP KPIs. With a robust background in evaluating and optimizing MPLS security for telecom giants, Vitesh has been instrumental in driving large service provider engagements, emphasizing planning, designing, assessment, and optimization. His experience spans prestigious organizations like Barclays, Protiviti, EY, PwC India, Tata Consultancy Services, and more. With a unique blend of technical prowess and management acumen, Vitesh remains at the forefront of ensuring secure and efficient networking solutions, solidifying his position as a notable figure in the cybersecurity landscape.

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