As the human race has ridden the wave of technological advance, a new kind of criminal has blossomed. From their bedrooms or remote workstations, these men and women wreak havoc in computer systems of organisations both big and small. We’re talking, of course, about hackers.

The highly controversial affair website Ashley Maddison is the latest high-profile victim of cybercrime. User information has been illegally obtained by a group calling themselves Impact. They are threatening to leak the information unless the website shuts down.

However, this is far from the most controversial or even high-profile cyber-attack. There have been countless attacks on users, businesses and global corporations by solo hackers and groups. One of the most famous groups, Anonymous, is known for high-profile threats and attacks on organisations such as the church of Scientology, Malaysian government and even Islamic state.

Other notable attacks have come about as the internet has aged. An early, high-profile example of hacking came about when 17 year old Sven Jaschan coded the Sasser Worm, a program that infected Windows 200 and XP machines, damaging computers across the globe. Among the victims was the UK maritime and coastguard agency, Australian rail network and the Taiwan postal service.

While some cases of hacking have become a reactionary method to fight organisations and businesses accused of malpractice, the majority of crimes often target innocent computer users. This was the case in 2014, when eBay was forced to ask 145 million customers to change their passwords following a database breach. Even video gamers are not safe, with a famous 2011 attack bringing down Sony’s PlayStation network for almost two weeks and leaking the personal data of 10,700 users. Sony still suffers intermittent attacks to their system, even years later.

According to data in the infographic below, designed by, in 2013 there were 42.8 million cyber-attacks (117,339 per day!) This is estimated to cost the global economy about $400 billion a year. Small businesses have been victimised by cybercrime, with 60% of UK small businesses saying they’d been affected. It is clear that despite the rise of hackers who are doing it for a ‘cause’, there are still innocent users losing money, accounts and time.

The infographic also looks at some of the most famous cyber criminals, from Anonymous to people like Jonathan James, a man who at 15 hacked NASA and Michael Calce, another 15-year old who caused $1.2 billion in damages by hacking Amazon, eBay and CNN.

Being knowledgeable about hacking and cyber-crime is the first step towards preventing it. Read the full infographic below to learn about famous hackers, crimes and the different kinds of cyber-criminal.

World's Most High-Profile Hackers and Hacking Scandals (Infographic)

World's Most High-Profile Hackers and Hacking Scandals (Infographic) -
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