The most dangerous hacking group encrypts over a million computers in 17 countries and hacks more than 1000 companies

At that place are countless cybercriminals on the web, though merely a few elites have earned the right to phone call themselves the near dangerous hackers in the world. Only
the best hackers in the globe are the ones who never get caught
. So the hackers on this list either wanted the world to know what they did, or made a critical error that left them exposed.

Hacking is the practice — or art — of manipulating computer systems to become a desired result. While several of the acme hackers featured in this article used their skills for expert, others are cybercriminals who stole millions of dollars and caused other harm.

The almost famous hackers in the globe

The people in this list have all made waves in recent years due to their cybercrime exploits. What’due south more, they’ve all washed it alone — we’ll cover hacking groups afterward in this article. From a
Twitter hacker who swindled people out of their bitcoins
to the creator of
the about infamous botnet of all fourth dimension, here are the well-nigh dangerous hackers in the earth.

Elliott Gunton

At the young age of 16, Elliott Gunton was defenseless hacking telecommunications firm TalkTalk. Since then, he’s been accused of a range of crimes in the UK: data theft, forgery, laundering coin with cryptocurrency, working as a criminal-for-hire, hacking and selling access to famous Instagram accounts, and more than.

In the United states of america, he was indicted for identity theft and hijacking EtherDelta, a currency substitution site, and
defrauding people out of millions of dollars
over most two weeks. Government merits that he’due south managed to swipe upwards to $800,000 from just one of the many people he’s tricked.

After pleading guilty in the UK, Gunton spent xx months in prison (a relatively steep sentence, by Britain standards) and was fined over £400,000. Gunton’s charges in the United states of america are still ongoing, as regime are currently seeking testimony from his declared victims.

In the end, Elliot Gunton isn’t the most dangerous hacker in the world, but the sheer latitude of his cybercrimes certainly merits inclusion in this listing of the most famous hackers.

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev

It’s very rare that a cybercriminal of Bogachev’south skill is e’er identified, only so, malware of the magnitude and destruction of the Gameover ZeuS botnet is rare as well.

Bogachev’south botnet reached millions of computers effectually the world, infected them with ransomware, and stole all the information they had stored on their systems. Non but did this effect in
over $100 million in amercement, information technology also earned Bogachev the attention of the Russian regime, who may have tapped into his network for espionage purposes.

The FBI and other international criminal offence organizations took two years simply to identify Bogachev, and they’re offering three million dollars — the biggest bounty always posted on a cybercriminal — to anyone who can assist bring him to justice. Bogachev at present lives openly in southern Russia with a number of luxury cars and his ain individual yacht.

The Russian authorities has never admitted to working with him. These days, Bogachev operates under usernames including slavik, lucky12345, and pollingsoon. With i of the near destructive bits of malware nether his belt, it’s no surprise Bogachev is counted among the all-time hackers in the world.

Graham Ivan Clark

Does it seem odd that Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, and Elon Musk would ask yous for bitcoin on Twitter? If so, you likely avoided falling for Graham Ivan Clark’s massive Twitter hack that blew up in the summer of 2020 and made the young Clark one of the nigh famous hackers in the word.

The 17-twelvemonth-onetime Clark and his accomplices hacked the social media giant — using an internal Twitter tool — and took control of numerous loftier-profile accounts in a wide-ranging Bitcoin scam. The hackers used compromised accounts to tweet a message promising $two,000 in bitcoin to anyone sending them $1,000 in the same cryptocurrency.

Of grade, the
Bitcoin wallet
included in the tweet was controlled by the hackers. This
people hacking
attack ultimately
defrauded victims of over $100,000. Clark pleaded out to a three-yr prison sentence in 2021, fugitive a minimum sentence of x years had he been tried as an adult.

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What is People Hacking?

People hacking
is a type of cybercrime that involves manipulating victims on a large scale. People hacking attacks use social technology tricks over the internet to reach large numbers of victims and fool them into falling for the attack.

impersonating celebrities on Twitter and dangling the promise of piece of cake money, Clark and his accomplices used people hacking to great effect.

Past using social engineering tactics, people hacking attacks can fool big numbers of victims.

Alexsey Belan

Well before the hacks that put him in the public eye, Alexsey Belan was famous in hacker circles as M4G. On meridian of hacking video game servers, an Israel-based cloud computing supplier, and ICQ websites, Alexsey began working as a consultant for other hackers and selling people’s private data online.

By 2011, Belan was considered one of the globe’s most dangerous hackers past constabulary enforcement, and by 2012, he was officially wanted for his crimes. From 2013 through 2016, Belan hacked and
stole information from 700 million accounts: 500 million from Yahoo, and 200 million from other sources, allegedly at the behest of Russia’s FSB.

Every bit one of the most famous hackers, Belan’s electric current whereabouts are unknown, though he was last known to be living in Russia. Karim Baratov, ane of Belan’s alleged accomplices, was extradited to the US and sentenced to five years imprisonment with a $2.25 one thousand thousand fine.

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Aaron Swartz

Content warning: The following paragraphs discuss suicide, which some readers may find sad.

The tardily Aaron Swartz is widely considered one of the best and near famous hackers of all time. Not a financially motivated cybercriminal merely an internet activist, or
hacktivist, Swartz applied his formidable skills toward
transforming the cyberspace into a free and open platform for data exchange.

Swartz was instrumental in establishing the
RSS feed, the
Artistic Commons
plan, social media site
Reddit, and various other internet-based initiatives. Simply information technology was his hack of MIT’south network, in which he downloaded thousands of articles from the airtight academic resource platform JSTOR, that finally fabricated him a target of the US government.

The federal authorities in the Usa were determined to make an example out of the outspoken young activist. After ii years of ceaseless legal battles and facing up to 35 years in prison, Swartz tragically took his own life on Jan 11, 2013 at the age of 26.

If you or anyone you know may be because suicide or self-harm, call your country’s suicide hotline immediately.

What is hacktivism?

Hacktivism refers to using hacking to advance a social or political calendar. The difference between hacktivism vs hacking lies in the hacker’south motivations.
are generally cybercriminals in search of coin or private data, while
accept high goals or want to fight for a cause.

Hacktivists have been known to fight for freedom of information, net neutrality, and human rights. Just they still utilize hacking tools and methods, and hacktivism tin can be legally murky.


The attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 by supporters of former US President Donald Trump sent shockwaves throughout the country and resulted in the deaths of v people. Merely it was thanks to the efforts of one hacker that
footage of the upshot became widely available.

Known as donk_enby, she dove into the right-wing social networking platform
to salvage over 56 terabytes of public data — including firsthand footage from the attack and user information — earlier Parler was shut down.

donk_enby’due south goal was to create a permanent repository of data relating to the attack to aid investigators. It’s important to mention that past
scraping publicly available information, donk_enby did not compromise Parler’s security and acted completely within the boundaries of the constabulary.

Past acting quickly and working tirelessly to preserve this information earlier Parler was taken downward, donk_enby certainly merits inclusion in this list of the most famous hackers in the world.

Extra: Mohammed bin Salman

Mohammed bin Salman is known less every bit one of the all-time hackers in the world and more as the electric current crown prince of Kingdom of saudi arabia. He’s not known as a hacker at all — merely he
known as the person who is said to accept fooled Jeff Bezos with a phishing video.

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The Saudi prince allegedly bundled for Bezos to be sent a phishing bulletin in May 2018 via bin Salman’s account on the secure messaging app WhatsApp. Shortly after Bezos opened the bulletin, which contained a video file, his phone began exporting staggering amounts of data.

Reportedly among the leaked documents were photographs of the then-married Bezos and his girlfriend. Bezos’s experience is a good reminder of why yous should
never open up attachments you aren’t expecting to receive
— even if they’re from royalty, and especially if you’re the wealthiest person in the earth.

AVG AntiVirus Gratis includes
born phishing detection
to protect y’all against malicious electronic mail attachments and downloads. It’south but one of the many ways our award-winning antivirus tool tin protect your data against hackers.

The most infamous hacker groups

Not all hackers act alone. Some of the most devastating hacks in history have been pulled off by
coordinated hacking groups, many of which are allegedly state-sponsored. Working covertly with hacking groups lets governments engage in cyberwarfare while maintaining a veneer of plausible deniability.

The Equation Group & the Shadow Brokers

The Equation Grouping is the breezy name of the
Tailored Admission Operations (TAO) unit of measurement of the US’s National Security Agency (NSA). Founded effectually 2001, the hacking group started equally a closely held country secret. The hacker grouping was “discovered” in 2015, with two types of spying malware — EquationDrug and GrayFish — linked to the organization.

The Equation Group also hoarded known vulnerabilities to maintain exploits for their hacks. It’south thought they were behind
Stuxnet, the computer worm that disrupted Iran’due south nuclear program. By authorities standards, this was all relatively mundane — until the Shadow Brokers came forth in August of 2016.

Under the Twitter handle @shadowbrokerss, the hacking group announced an
auction for a number of tools used past the Equation Group. Among these tools were EternalBlue, EternalRomance, and other exploits that facilitated some of the most dangerous malware attacks of 2017, including the infamous Wannacry and NotPetya ransomware attacks.

The Shadow Brokers appeared to have
unrestricted access to the NSA. Over the coming months, they went on to reveal a list of servers and tools used past the Equation Group, and offered a “data dump of the month” to anyone willing to pay the fees. Since then, the Shadow Brokers have gone silent, with their identities and origins nevertheless unknown.

Bureau 121

Bureau 121, Democratic people’s republic of korea’due south internal hacking grouping, has been linked to several of the most dangerous malware events of the past decade. The starting time and perhaps most famous was the
Wannacry ransomware attack, for which the U.s.a. sanctioned North korea in 2019. Wannacry infected around 300,000 devices and caused four billion dollars in damages.

Screenshot of the Wana decryptor ransomware note on an infected computer.
Screenshot of the Wana decryptor ransomware annotation. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In 2014, Bureau 121 hacked Sony Pictures in response to the Seth Rogen comedy film
The Interview. The attack leaked countless personal emails and details, and Sony spent effectually fifteen million dollars repairing the damage.

Blimp in crowded, often overheated apartments with heavy security and limited freedom, the average North Korean hacker is expected to bring in, and so hand over, between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. While the members of Bureau 121 may exist among the earth’s best hackers, their lives are far from glamorous.

Fancy Comport

Often operating under other names, Fancy Bear is a hacking group linked to the Russian government. While Fancy Bear isn’t responsible for all of Russia’due south online espionage, they’re the land’s about unsafe hacking grouping and take been responsible for some of
the near high-profile hacks of the decade.

Since hacking the Georgian regime in 2008 to prepare for a Russian invasion, Fancy Conduct has threatened anti-Kremlin journalists and protesters, hacked the German parliament, fabricated death threats to the wives of US regular army personnel, shut downwardly 20% of Ukraine’s arms, leaked emails from the Democratic National Convention, and targeted the Biden campaign.

Evidence of Fancy Comport’s election tampering has also been discovered in Germany, France, and Ukraine. But despite beingness one of the most disruptive hacking groups in the world, Fancy Bear rarely takes credit for their piece of work — frequently operating under the aliases of Anonymous or ISIS.

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Moscow has denied any connexion to the hacker group. Regardless, Fancy Conduct doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.


Emerging in 2020 with a devastating wave of ransomware attacks, the DarkSide group and their eponymous ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) have quickly gained fame every bit ane of the earth’s nearly unsafe hacking groups. But it was their 2021 attack on Colonial Pipeline in the United states that made them a household name in cybersecurity.

The attack resulted in a partial shutdown of the network responsible for
45% of the gasoline supply in the E Coast of the US, triggering widespread gasoline panic-ownership across the region.

The DarkSide hacker group presents itself as a “trustworthy” ransomware assailant, targeting high-profile corporations, delivering decryption codes upon payment, and fifty-fifty creating a polished website of resources for journalists. Regardless, if you’re targeted by ransomware,
don’t pay the ransom
— the money will be used to fund additional attacks.

You can protect your devices against ransomware past
always using updated software, since many types of ransomware exploit security holes in outdated operating systems. A reliable ransomware protection tool volition accept your defenses a considerable step further.

AVG AntiVirus has built-in ransomware protection to keep your important files secure.
AVG AntiVirus features built-in ransomware protection.

Unit 8200

The pseudo-secret cyberintellegence branch of the Israeli government, Unit of measurement 8200 is a hacking group with a proven track record in public service and counter-terrorism action. They’re besides responsible for some of the most terrifyingly efficient types of malware ever produced, as well as
mass spying and exploitation of governments and civilians akin.

Unit 8200 helped develop the
Stuxnet worm
and created the Duqu two.0 spyware, using it to covertly infect cybersecurity provider Kaspersky Labs for months. According to the
New York Times, this set on is what ultimately uncovered the alleged link between Kaspersky and the Russian authorities. Duqu two.0 was as well used to infect hotels in Austria and Switzerland hosting international negotiations with Iran in 2015.

PLA Unit 61398

Until recently, Mainland china had categorically denied being involved in cybercrime or even having a hacker group operate to their benefit. But in 2015, China openly admitted it had a cyberdefense squad, and they’ve since been linked to several notable events.

The hacking grouping’s Functioning Shady RAT is one of the largest state-sponsored online attacks e’er executed. From 2006 to 2011, PLA Unit 61398 infiltrated and stole data from over seventy companies, governments, and nonprofit organizations around the world. High-profile information theft makes up the bulk of PLA Unit of measurement 61398’s activities.

In 2014, they were blamed for the theft of countless sensitive documents on State of israel’south missile defence force organization, known as the Fe Dome. Unit 61398 started hacking US companies again after a brief hiatus, and they were recently linked to tech giant Huawei. The sizable hacking group is estimated to use over ane,000 servers.


Many independent hacking groups autumn apart equally quickly as they emerge — which makes
Machete’southward decade-plus career almost miraculous. And like any good and long-lived hacking grouping, Machete is completely shrouded in mystery.

Discovered in 2014, Machete has maintained a focus on the Venezuelan military, though it has besides targeted victims in Ecuador, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Machete’s hand-crafted phishing emails have been used to nifty effect in the theft of sensitive military data such as navigation routes and grid positioning.

With every new data theft, Machete incorporates new data into subsequent phishing attacks in
a cycle of continual heists and technique refinement.

Defend against information theft with AVG BreachGuard

As we’ve seen, many of the large-scale hacks in this list are focused on information theft, often targeting large companies. If your account gets compromised in a information breach, your personal information may be at take a chance.

AVG BreachGuard is your ally in the fight confronting data theft. Go alerts if any of your accounts are targeted in a alienation, and learn how to respond to protect your data before anyone can take advantage of it.

The most dangerous hacking group encrypts over a million computers in 17 countries and hacks more than 1000 companies