The Old “Hack An Entire City’s Phone System To Win A Porsche” Gag
When Hack Happened:June 1,1990
Who Did It:Kevin Poulsen
The Los Angeles phone system was not exactly secure back in the mid-1990s. It is not surprising that one smart tech guy would eventually hack in. Kevin Poulsen did just that, but he had an understandable reason for his decision. He wanted to win a car. Not just any car either, a Porsche 944 S2. The radio station, LA KIIS FM, was giving the car away to the 102nd caller into the station on June 1, 1990. Poulsen wanted to ensure that would be him.
How could he do this other than repeatedly calling in and hoping to get lucky? Well, by hacking LA’s phone system obviously. It might be a crazy decision, but it worked. He took control of the phone network and simply blocked incoming calls to the radio station’s phone number. Naturally, Poulsen won the car. Yet the city caught up with Kevin, knowing what he did. It resulted in the man serving 5 years in prison! After getting out, he eventually became a Senior Editor at Wired News. Seriously!
Church Of Scientology’s Google Results Were Hacked Perfectly
When Hack Happened:2008
Who Did It:Unknown
We are obviously the Science Sensei, not the “Religion Sensei.” Therefore, we won’t dive much into Scientology and all of its odd or understandable material. However, what we will discuss is that the Church of Scientology had been growing in popularity for a while. This was only aided due to high-profile members, including the major box office attraction, Tom Cruise. In fact, this entire hack story revolves around Mr. Cruise too. In 2008, they attempted to get a video taken down from YouTube.
It was a video being critical of Cruise, which the church did not want to see. YouTube was naturally growing into a phenomenon at the time, and anything on the website could become big news. Hackers did not like to see this, so they decided to use mathematics to get back at the Church. They essentially shifted the Church of Scientology’s Google rankings. They did this by making the church pop up first when a person Googled “dangerous cults.” This remained in place for quite a while too.
Aaron Barr claimed he had found out the identities of several members within the Anonymous hacker group in 2011. In fact, he truly believed he cleverly found his way into the organization to gather up names. At the time, Barr was working as the Head of Security for the HBGary Federal firm. Anonymous knew all about this, and they knew he was likely bluffing. In fact, they made very sure of that. The entire idea about Anonymous is that its members are spread out all over the world.
Even members of the group do not really know about most of the other members. Plus, they are pretty good at this whole “hacking” thing and keep their identities a secret very well. They could not take any chances, so they decided to hack into HBGary’s website and released Barr’s supposed findings themselves. While they were there, they also posted archives of emails from company executives on file-trading networks. This was just a warning, and we found it comical.
When we talk about some of the funniest hacker attacks ever, there are few that get more clever AND funnier than this. In 2004, a group of hackers from North Carolina realized that the News 14 broadcast posted about school closings. While this happens all the time around the country, the hackers realized how the network did it. They picked up the closings for schools or workplaces from an online messenger. Once they knew how they went about it, the gloves were off.
They hacked into the messenger and began to flood it with various messages. Many of them were pretty comical, such as “All Your Base Are Belong To Us.” Horrible grammar aside, this had been a funny saying from the online world. They also flooded the messenger with numerous falsified messages about school closings. By the way, not only did the school closing stuff make air for News 14, but so did everything from the online messenger. It was wired directly to the network ticker.
The Max Headroom hack is legendary in the hacking world. Originally invented in the 1980s, “Max Headroom” was a sentient yellow artificial intelligence from the movie, Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future. The character had a unique look, with a weird electronic voice. This unique nature made him relatively popular as a cult icon for years. Fast-Forward a bit to November 1987. A man in a Max Headroom mask began taking over TV networks.
He interrupted broadcasts, insulted sportscasters, and even made fun of Dr. Who. It all added up to several minutes in total, and everyone knew the networks were being hacked. The jokes became pretty well-known, but people wanted to know who was responsible for the hack. Several investigations took place but all came up empty. The person or persons responsible are still at large. Whoever did it, we hope they know they are responsible for one of the funniest hacker attacks ever.
Security Expert Sends Warning To Thousands Of Printer Owners
When Hack Happened:February 2017
Who Did It:Stackoverflowin
One man, who happened to be a security expert that went by the fake name “Stackoverflowin,” saw a major security flaw in several printers. Due to this, he wanted to make sure to send the many owners of these specific printers a warning. Knowing that he could hack into them, he decided to do just that in February 2017. Interestingly, this came right after a study was published online showing how certain printers allowed attackers to access them over the internet.
They were able to do this because the printers kept ports open by default. The man exploited this exact problem and sent out messages to around 150,000 printer owners. He sent them messages that automatically printed out whenever the printer turned on for use. Some of the messages were of artwork. But most were simply warned, with the line: “for the love of God, please close this port.” This is one of the funniest hacker attacks ever, but also the nicest. He could have done much worse.
Anonymous was rightly upset with the United States Government in 2010. The American government demanded that Wikileaks stop releasing top-secret diplomatic cables to the public. Several companies supported Wikileaks in the past but with the government now against them, they were too. They froze accounts and shut down the site’s servers at one point. The owner, Julian Assange, was furious over this. The companies in question were Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, PostFinance, and even Amazon.
Anonymous was mad as well that the government would do this, but also that these companies pushed away and refused to do business with Wikileaks. In December 2010, Anonymous decided to take down both Visa’s and MasterCard’s websites. Called Operation Payback, many found it to be one of the funniest hacker attacks ever, as Anonymous showed these businesses what it was like to have business come to a halt. But things then started to spin out of control, with Anonymous taking down numerous other anti-piracy opponents along with the others with targeted DDOS attacks.
Darktrace, a cybersecurity firm, managed to uncover something pretty odd. They found that hackers were using an internet-connected fish tank to steal data from a yet to be identified North American casino. The tank was properly equipped with IoT sensors, which were connected to a PC that monitored and regulated the temperature and even the cleanliness of the tank. It even kept up with feeding the fish.
Justin Fier, Director for Cyber Intelligence & Analysis for Darktrace, claimed: “Someone used the fish tank to get into the network, and once they were in the fish tank, they scanned and found other vulnerabilities and moved laterally to other places in the network.” The team traced back the tank’s owners to Finland. They even found that an incident in London was also done by the same team, and allowed them to get a foothold in the casino’s network, to begin with.
We feel bad discussing this one. While it is one of the funniest hacker attacks ever, it involved a man wanting more friends. MySpace is now like the abandoned amusement park of social media networks, but it used to be the most notable one. Everyone knows that once you created an account, the site’s founder, Tom, became your very first friend. Therefore, everyone was friends with Tom. But at one point, many became friends with Samy Kamkar too.
In 2005, Samy decided that he would exploit a vulnerable spot in MySpace’s security, and created the fastest spreading computer virus to ever exist. Within just 1 day of his move, the virus he installed infected roughly one million pages on the site. Of course, his attack did not have any major nor harmful effects. Except those exposed were forced to send a friend request to Samy Kamkar’s MySpace account. They also had a message displayed on their page that reads: “but most of all, Samy is my hero.” Samy is now a top security researcher.
A man named Attila Nemeth wanted to work for the Marriott International Security Firm. It has been said that he attempted to get hired by them in the normal way, but the Hungarian hacker had no luck. Therefore, in 2010 he decided to transmit a malicious code into the company’s network. Marriot knew they had been hacked, and Attilia threatened to do more damage unless he was given a job with the company.
Yet this is what makes it one of the funniest hacker attacks of all time. Marriot decided to respond to Attila, and set him up with a fake employee account and the promise of a job, just as he demanded. This prompted Nemeth to send over his resume, passport, as well as other specific identification. Of course, this was then passed on to the United States Secret Service who took action against the 26-year-old hacker. He ended up being sentenced to 30 months in a Maryland prison.
Back in 2009, the nation of Australia proved how inept they were when it came to the internet. They planned to push heavy censorship, which most citizens hated. They even wanted to try to ban all possible “adult entertainment,” if you know what we mean. Anonymous caught wind of what the government wanted to do, then decided to launch Operation Didgeridie. An odd name, but perfect for this specific situation. One year later, in 2010, they launched Operation T**storm.
The two hacking projects were very specific. The first was a DDOS Attack on the Prime Minister’s website, which only took the site down for about an hour. The second, however, was a major attack. Anonymous shut down the Australian Parliament House website and even caused problems for Australia’s Department of Communication. Both of the latter hacks came with crazy demands, which focused heavily on Australia’s ban on adult entertainment. It was the first time Anonymous was seen as a true “hacktivist” or vigilante group that fought for the rights of man.
The year was 1903 and the “father of the modern radio,” Guglielmo Marconi, was stationed on a cliff. He was preparing to show off his version of the modern telegraph to the Royal Academy of Sciences. As Marconi was reading his fingers to send a message more than 300 miles across airwaves, his machine began pulsing strongly on its receiving end. The decoder managed to spell out “RATS” several times before the machine started getting random limericks.
The first was “there was a young fellow of Italy, who diddled the public quite prettily.” Although not bad when read, it was pronounced quite rudely. More random quotes began to follow. It was found that a wireless engineer called Nevil Maskelyne was behind the hack. He worked for the Eastern Telegraph Company and did this hack for a reason. He claimed that telegraph messages weren’t private, which he proved to be true. Eventually, the telegraph died off when “telephones” came to be.
Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources: