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10 Most Insane Hacking Stories—Ever!

6. “Xbox Underground,” an international hacker group, boasted of having broken into every game company’s network. They repeatedly broke into Microsoft’s network and stole credentials to walk into its headquarters at Redmond. They took three Xbox One development kits with them which were unreleased then.

Xbox Underground
Image credit: pixabay

“Xbox Underground” broke into Microsoft’s computer network and spent hundreds of hours copying log-in credentials, source code, and other data between 2011 and 2013. Using these credentials, they carried out theft of the development kits of the unreleased Xbox One consoles from Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters driven by curiosity. The hacker group also breached the network of Zombie Studios and gained access to the simulator software for the United States military’s Apache helicopters.

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David Pokora, an infamous hacker who was in the ranks of this group, while pleading guilty said, “Have you been listening to the (expletive) that I’ve done this past month? I have to the U.S. military. I have (expletive) to the Australian Department of Defense… I have (expletive) every single big company—Intel, AMD, Nvidia—and any game company you could name—Google, Microsoft, Disney, Warner Brothers, everything.” He was the first foreign hacker who was tried in the United States. Three others from the hackers’ group pleaded guilty to the charges leveled against them, while one helped the FBI track the group down. (source)

7. Higinio Ochoa, a hacker who went by the code name “w0rmer,” had a modus operandi of leaving behind the image of a woman in a bikini with a message as his trademark. When he hacked into an FBI criminal database, the image he left behind had GPS coordinates that led them to him.

Higinio Ochoa
Image credit: Twitter via

Higinio Ochoa got into hacking as a child, but when the “Occupy Wall Street” movement began in 2011, his agenda turned political. He hacked into police departments’ websites to reveal the names of the police officers who used tear gas and sticks on protesters while covering the badges on their uniforms. He joined a hacking group called “Cabin Cr3w” and also got associated with Anonymous. 

One day, he hacked into the FBI’s criminal database that was linked to another website of the Alabama Department of Public Safety to which he had gained access. He left behind his trademark image of a woman in bikini with the words, “PwNd by w0rmer & CabinCr3w – <3 u B*Tch’s.” This image that was taken by his fiancée on her iPhone with the location services turned on. The FBI traced the coordinates to the exact location, discovered her identity, and later on arrested Ochoa. After spending 18 months in prison and when he was going out on parole in 2015, his parole terms had been modified and he was told that he could not use the Internet and not even touch a device that was connected to the Internet.

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He works as a computer programmer, nevertheless, and sends programming codes to his boss via snail mail. If he wants to watch Netflix, his wife, Kylie, has to put the service on auto-play so he does not press play, abiding the terms of his parole. (source)

8. Only using photographs of the German Defense Minister, a hacker Jan Krissler was able to recreate his fingerprint. The same person, within 24 hours of the release of iPhone 5S, defeated Apple’s thumbprint verification.

Jan Krissler
Image credit: Jan Krissler via

“Starbug” whose real name is Jan Krissler, used a commercial software called VeriFinger and several photographs of the German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to recreate her fingerprint. One of these photos was taken by him from three meters away so that he could reverse-engineer the fingerprint.

In yet another stunt that he did in 2013, he created a dummy finger from a smudge on the screen of the newly released iPhone 5S and defeated Apple’s TouchID sensors. He created the dummy finger using wood glue and sprayable graphene and unlocked a phone registered to someone else’s fingerprint. In a demonstration, sometime after that, he said that he could spoof the sensors even without having access to a “smudge on the screen.” Krissler told a publication that he considers using passwords safer than using fingerprints. (source)

9. By exploiting a minor glitch in a video poker machine, John Kane and another gambler won a half a million dollars. When they were sued for hacking, their lawyer argued, “All these guys did is simply push a sequence of buttons that they were legally entitled to push.” They won the case.

John Kane
Image credit: Clark County Detention Center via, Dennis Yang/Flickr

Two gamblers, John Kane and Andre Nestor, exploited a bug in IGT’s Game King machine in the casinos of Las Vegas that enabled them to win a half a million dollars. Kane had found out about a firmware bug that let him play a prior winning hand again at ten times the original value in the video poker machine. He was arrested at the Silverton Casino Lodge in July 2009 after the casino noticed suspicious play. His friend, Andra Nestor, was arrested in Pennsylvania.

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When they were charged with computer and wire fraud in January 2011, the federal prosecutors alleged that they had to activate the bug through a complex system of pressing buttons which made it a form of hacking. But the defense argued that both the men pressed the buttons they were legally allowed to press and were playing by the rules, terming it a “lucky streak.” They won the case. (source)

10. Orchestrating the first computer attack to cause physical harm to the victims, users of 7chan.org hacked into the website of the Epilepsy Foundation of America in 2008 replacing the support forum with flashing images and animations to trigger migraine headaches and seizures in people.

7chan hacker
Image credit: Pixabay

A message board thread on 7chan.org, which was later deleted, had posts about planning a hacking attack on the website of the Epilepsy Foundation of America that began on March 22, 2008. The attack, which was done using JavaScript code and flashing hundreds of computer animations, was aimed to trigger pattern-sensitive and photo-sensitive seizures and migraine headaches in some people who attempted to access the support forum on the website.

Following the attack, the Epilepsy foundation had to shut down their website for a day and strengthen their security. This was the first computer attack that was intended to inflict physical harm on people. Circumstantial evidence suggested that Anonymous, a hacker’s collective, was behind the attack. (source)

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