The Strange Names of Infamous Hackers

International espionage

Large-scale information hacks are now a serious ongoing threat within the international community. Surprisingly, many of the hacker groups behind these data breaches have strange names and intriguing backstories.

Several of these groups are directed by nation-state actors (like Russia or North Korea) to carry out acts of political espionage. Others are made up of rag-tag, independent hackers who hope to make a fortune by leveraging stolen information. Look ahead to familiarize yourself with some of the most audacious (and bizarre) groups of hackers from around the world.

Chaos Computer Club

According to their official website, Chaos Computer Club is the largest community of hackers in Europe. Unlike most of the groups listed here, the CCC seems to be relatively chill and harmless.

They're mostly concerned with transparency in government and take matters of mass surveillance and data collection very seriously. Members of the Chaos Computer Club are proponents of hactivismmeaning they use their collective abilities to expose government corruption and support causes like net neutrality.

Anonymous

Anonymous has received considerable attention for their hacks into Sony and the Church of Scientology. As the name implies, Anonymous is a decentralized group of hacktivists who refuse to be defined by one singular identity or description. And so, any rogue hacker with a vengeance could commit a data breach and claim to be part of Anonymous

Rather than perpetrate serious crimes, members of this group tend to stage elaborate pranks and cause humorous nuisances online.

Cicada 3301

The mystery of Cicada 3301 continues to perplex the internet to this day. Around 2012, strange cryptographic puzzles started popping up online, always accompanied by imagery featuring a lone cicada. Apparently, the masterminds behind Cicada 3301 deployed these puzzles as some sort of recruitment method, eerily stating "We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test."

Several of the complex Cicada 3301 puzzles remain unsolved. There's also been little progress made in finding out exactly who's behind the organization. Theories continue to run rampant.

Guccifer 2.0

Who is Guccifer 2.0? Some of the top intelligence agencies in the United States would love to know. It sounds like Lucifer himself took computer coding classes and went to work for the Kremlin.

Very little is known about the identity of the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, who may be an individual, a group of individuals, or a disguised nation-state actor pretending to be a lone hacker. Whomever it is, they are suspected of perpetrating the infamous data breach of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Impact Team

Some folks might be supportive of Impact Team's highly publicized 2015 hack of the website Ashley Madison. If you're unaware, Ashley Madison is a website that encourages married people to cheat on their spouses. Yeah, it's messed up: The site's founders made millions off this sleazy concept. And then, Impact Team came along and wreaked considerable havoc.

After hacking into the entire Ashley Madison user base, members of Impact Team publicly released the names of everyone who registered. It's safe to say this brutal act of revelation caused quite an impact on marriages around the world.

Lizard Squad

In 2014, Lizard Squad ruined Christmas for gamers worldwide. After a devastating set of cyberattacks, hackers managed to disrupt online services for both Playstation and Xbox consoles for several hours.

One of the culprits was a 17-year old Finnish hacker who was caught and is now serving a two-year suspended sentence. During the hack, his Twitter account proudly featured an image of a lizard with a monocle as well as #OFFLINE written next to it.

Guardians of Peace

Perhaps you're familiar with the devastating cyberattacks against Sony Pictures in 2014. This episode caused one of the most bizarre international controversies in recent memory. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, the attack was sponsored by nation-state actor, North Korea. Why?

It turns out they were furious about the Seth Rogan and James Franco film The Interview, which lampooned dictator Kim-Jong-un. A group calling themselves Guardians of Peace took responsibility for the hack, claiming their goal was to warn Sony against the provocation of war with North Korea.

Fancy Bear/Cozy Bear

Fancy Bear, Cozy Bear, and other "Bear" designations are unofficial codenames attributed to several state-sponsored Russian hacker groups. These mysterious organizations are considered some of the most sophisticated hacking units in the entire world, and they are suspected to have played a major role in Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Very little is known about their exact relationship with the Kremlin, though numerous cybersecurity firms have claimed to trace their hacking activities back to the upper-echelons of the Russian government.