The history of hackers and hacking

brief history hacking
brief history hacking

Last updated: November 2, 2023

Today we're going to talk a little about hacking. We'll see how it all started and where it takes us. I will focus on the most important moments.

What is a hacker?

In the 60s, at MIT, a great place to learn, students began using the word "hacker." For what ? They loved to tinker and improve their projects. These early hackers just liked trying new things.

A little history...

John Draper, in 1969, figured out a trick with a cereal box whistle. This whistle made a sound which allowed you to make free telephone calls with the telephone service.AT&T. People started calling him Captain Crunch. He called this trick Phreaking.

After that, groups were formed. They shared their tips with each other.

In 1976,, a big change has come. Some of these experts worked on a computer, theChange 8800. Two of them, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, went on to create Apple.

Steve wozniak and Steve jobs

In 1983,, the general public will discover the hackers. Kevin Poulsen, just 17, is breaking into ARPANet, the Internet's precursor network for the military, major universities and businesses. In the same year, a hackers movie “Wargames” presents the “fantasized” universe of hackers to the public. This feature film traces the adventures of a young hacker who gains access to the American military computer system and fails to start a global thermonuclear war.

With the development of the internet a shift is taking place towards cybercrime and hacker community splits. On the one hand, the “black hat”, with often criminal activities, and on the other, the “white hat” with no intention of harming and above all committed to making security breaches public.

In 1994,  Russian mathematician Vladimir Levin steals $ 10 million from Citybank, breaking into the international banking network SWIFT. He will be sentenced to three years in prison.

In 1995,, Kevin Mitnick is arrested by the FBI. On the run since 1989, he is notably accused of software theft and intrusion into protected systems. He will be sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.

The 6 geniuses of hacking

In 2001,, a Norwegian group called Masters of Reverse Engineering breaks the DVD copy protection key which allows the movies to be copied.

In 2008,, Conficker, the Most Powerful Malware in History, Appears. In January 2009, an estimated 15 million computers were infected with this worm worldwide. On February 13, 2009, Microsoft offered a $ 250.000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual behind the creation and / or distribution of Conficker.

EL JAOUARI is an author and trainer. Passionate about IT security and new technologies. His tutorials have helped many people to better master today's computer tools.