10 Powerful Hacker Groups, That We Are Aware Of...

1.  Tailored Access Operations, NSA:

If it weren’t Edward Snowden, we probably wouldn’t know anything about TAO. TAO has some of the best capabilities in the world, and has collected about all the American telephone data you can imagine. After the initial reveal by Snowden, more and more details have come out about them. We now know they have 600 employees in the main NSA complex in Fort Mead, Maryland. There are also branches in Hawaii, Georgia, Texas, and Denver.

Tailored Access Operations, NSA
Tailored Access Operations, NSA

2.   Elderwood Group and 20 other Chinese APTs:

Elderwood Group, Axiom, Unit 61398, Comment Crew, Putter Panda, Hidden Lynx, and many more. China pioneered the use of state-sponsored hacking groups, and they've continued to perfect the practice. It is diffucult to say if the government pulls the strings, funds or even has an affiliation with each group. One of the more famous attacks came in 2010 under the name "Operation Aurora". We in part know about Operation Aurora because Google came forward and announced it had been hacked.

Elderwood Group and 20 other Chinese APTs
Elderwood Group and 20 other Chinese APTs

3.  APT28:

This Russian group is another advanced persistent threat and they probably share the same funders as Dragonfly. All of their targets are targets that the Russian government is interested in, they speak Russian, and they've been traced back to a government sponsor in Moscow. They use pretty well-known hacking methods and use them successfully. They're unique in that they've been caught framing the Cyber Caliphate (ISIS) for their attacks.

APT28
APT28

4.   Dragonfly:

Dragonfly is likely state-sponsored due to its targets: electric grids, energy industry, and other control systems in U.S. and Europe. They're designated as an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). Their most common attacks are spear-phishing and watering hole attacks. They've also demonstrated capabilities to embed trojans in legitimate software for industrial control systems.

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

5.  Tarsh Andishan / Ajax:

The Iranian government formed these two groups with a view to both their defensive and offensive benefits. They created a state-sponsored independent hacker group Tarsh Andishan and hired the existing Iranian hackivist group, Ajax. Ajax was best known for website defacement but Tarsh Andishan is a little scarier because they've gained access to airport gate control systems in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan and also hacked industrial targets like oil, gas, and telecommunications companies.

Tarsh Andishan / Ajax
Tarsh Andishan / Ajax

6.   Anonymous:

Anonymous is probably the most well-known hacker group globally. They formed in 2003 on 4chan and have become a significant force on the internet. They have certain collective symbols such as Guy Fawkes masks and taglines, and there is no single person giving commands. Their hacks are mostly ethical like the Occupy Movement, anti-child pornography, and anti-Church of Scientology.

Anonymous
Anonymous

7.   Syrian Electronic Army:

The SEA is a hacker group with Syrian sympathies, along with connections to Iran and Hezbollah. They are famous for defacing many Western news outlets, and they have also managed to find rebels’ locations using malwares. Their style and humour raises questions about their identity, but the New York Times stated that they’re probably Iranian.

Syrian Electronic Army
Syrian Electronic Army

8.  Morpho:

Morpho, aka Wild Neutron, was founded in 2011 and since then they have attacked the big tech companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, plus investment and pharmaceutical companies. Their hacks usually steal insider information for monetary gains. They hit servers and computers using zero-day exploits which are unknown by their developers and this gives them a powerful access opportunity. 

Morpho
Morpho

9.   Chaos Computer Club:

CCC is one of the rare groups that has a sort of 'moral code'. It’s also known that it was founded in 1981 by a group of Germans, so it’s probably the oldest known group. It’s a large unit of mostly German speaking people. They are famous for keeping their hacks within the legal boundries.

 Chaos Computer Club
 Chaos Computer Club

10.   Bureau 121:

Even though North Korea’s technology seems extremely outdated, their government has shown great interest in hacking. It has about 1,800 known members around world (Since the internet in NK is terrible). The members are generally handpicked from their University of Automation. It’s known that military hackers have really good opportunities and live extravagant lives.

Bureau 121
Bureau 121

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