These hackers were never brought to justice

To most people, the term "hacker" is synonymous with a "cyber villain" or "bad guy who has computer," but that's not exactly right. A hacker can be a cyber villain or the person who protects you from cyber villains. Hackers, in and of themselves, are neither malevolent nor benevolent. A person who alters code for their own work or builds personal computer devices is also considered a hacker. What the majority of people are referring to when they say "hacker" is a black hat hacker, the cyber villains who wreck stuff and steal things via digital means. White hat hackers are the tech people who typically work in cyber security, while grey hat hackers are usually content to mess around in their basements.

Black hat hackers have caused immense damage over the years and have stolen billions of dollars. They fish for passwords, distribute malware, exploit software to gain access to bank accounts and credit cards, find and sell personal information, and so on. It's these hackers who will ransom your devices and have your social media accounts posting uncouth links without your permission.

Malicious hackers have become such a danger to the digital world that the FBI has created the Cyber Most Wanted List, featuring the worlds most destructive hackers who are still at large. There are thousands, if not millions, of black hat hackers out in the world, and we're going to tell you about the ones who've done the most damage and remain at large.

Made the most wanted list for pirating 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

A former United States Air Force intelligence specialist by the name of Behzad Mesri turned out to be extremely talented at his job, just not for the U.S. Currently, Mesri is wanted by FBI Cyber for espionage on behalf of Iran, meaning they believe the former intelligence specialist is actually a spy.

The list of the many crimes that Mesri has been charged with are pretty broad. As with most black hat hackers, Mesri is currently accused of things like computer fraud, illegal access of computer systems, and the like. He's also accused of running a company that worked for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to go after U.S. Intelligence Community, according to the FBI. But the act he's best known for is extorting HBO.

In 2017, Mersi compromised HBO employee accounts to lift passwords and personal information so he could gain access to the network's servers. The hacker was after footage, and he found it. Not the stuff you could watch online, but stuff that wasn't released yet, including unaired episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He then used the stolen footage as leverage to ransom HBO for $6 million in Bitcoin, threatening that otherwise, he'd release their footage online for all the world to see. Of course, HBO wasn't about to pay the hacker, so Mersi, according to Tripwire, released the footage, costing HBO a lot of potential money.

An electronic Army blasting the news

A new army emerged in 2011, but these folks weren't driving Humvees and toting rifles. Instead, they were armed with keyboards and a fair number of bad intentions. We're talking about the Syrian Electronic Army. This group of hackers, given they're vocally in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, are believed to have ties to the Syrian government. It probably doesn't help that Assad has vocally supported the hacker group in return, reports CNN. Having ties doesn't mean they actually work for the government, however, and no one seems to be certain one way or the other.

The Syrian Electronic Army seems to have one primary target: the media. They've hacked the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Associated Press. They used the latter's twitter to make a false announcement that the White House was being attacked in 2013. What reason would Syrian hackers have to go after the U.S. media? According to the Syrian Electronic Army (found via CNN), the hacker group claims to be "a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths who could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria."

Their attack on the New York Times shut the news outlet down for roughly 20 hours, but the group claims that wasn't exactly what they were going for. Instead, they were attempting to broadcast an antiwar message that their servers weren't able to keep running.

A $3 million bounty

The FBI Cyber division is offering a whopping $3 million for information leading to the arrest of one Evgeniy Mikhaylovich Bogachev, who also goes by "lucky1234," "Pollingsoon," and "slavik." That's a decent payday if you can manage to track down this Russian hacker in, well, Russia.

Bogachev is wanted for a whole list of cyber crimes, as well as racketeering, but the thing that probably got him on the FBI Cyber most wanted list is GameOver Zeus. You may remember hearing about this malware a few years ago, and we hope you weren't one of the one million affected by it. The software was spread through email and phishing scams. Once it was on your computer, according to the FBI, you became part of the bot net the hackers used to process banking transfers and process all banking credentials stolen from the infected computers.

Bogachev and his crew of hackers brought in millions of dollars before the bot net was disrupted by a multi-national taskforce in 2014. So let's review: This is why you don't click on links in spam email or popups, and why you should never download software without confirming its source. The "free Viagra" isn't worth your bank account.