At the end of 2017, Wired published a list of the top 10 most dangerous people on the internet. This year, the list includes only eight. As was true last year, not all who are noted are actual cybercriminals. Nevertheless, their power–or accountability–for inciting and provoking is noteworthy. As Wired writes, “In many cases, the most dangerous people online are also the most dangerous in the real world. The distinction has never mattered less.”
Topping the list for the second year in a row is Donald Trump. Citing potential witness tampering, undermining the credibility of the media, and taking to the internet to declare military and foreign policy positions, seemingly without regard to consequences, Wired asserts that Trump has used the internet to erode democracy.
Though not on last year’s list, Vladimir Putin makes a comeback from 2016. From hacking and casting a shadow over the Pyeongchang Olympics to hacking a lab associated with investigating the murder of Sergei Skirpal to hacking into the US power grid and launching cyberattacks against Ukraine, Wired sees Putin at the helm of his country’s cyberaggression machine.
In third position, Min Aung Hlaing, head of Myanmar armed forces, exploited Facebook to conduct a genocide campaign in Myanmar. According to Wired, he “used his personal account to spread hate speech and led a military that surreptitiously ran at least 425 Facebook pages, 17 Facebook groups, 135 Facebook accounts, and 15 Instagram accounts.”
Speaking of Facebook, the embattled company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fourth on the list for 2018. That distinction comes, in part, because Myanmar was able to rely on Facebook as a platform for so long. Beyond that, Wired also points to a year in which we saw 30 million Facebook users get hacked thanks to a vulnerability that was around for more than a year. And, let’s not forget the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica data privacy abuse.
Coming in at number five are the SamSam Hackers. With an established reputation for attacking hospitals and universities, the group made lasting headlines this year for its debilitating cyberattack on the city of Atlanta.
APT10, an elite Chinese hacking group known for targeting intellectual property globally, is number six on the list. Wired notes that in 2015 China and the US agreed to stop hacking each other’s private sector interests. While that helped quiet the cybercrime activity for a spell, incidents have been again on the rise, as trade tensions have been mounting. Specific examples provided: hacking campaigns against the US Navy and the Marriott data breach.
Next on the roster is Christian Porter, Australia’s attorney general, for pushing through a law that Wired says undermines encryption. “As written, the law gives Australian authorities the right to compel tech companies to put backdoors in their encrypted messaging platform. It also lets officials target specific individual with those requests, under a veil of secrecy, rather than the company itself….In short, it’s a law that threatens encryption protections for everyone, whether the Australian government has targeted them or not—a dangerous development on a global scale.”
Rounding out the list is Magekart, a cybercrime syndicate credited with credit card skimmer hacks, and cyber hits against Ticketmaster, British Airways, Newegg, and others. Wired calls it “one of the most active hacking consortiums out there.”
Get the full story on these internet provocateurs and cybercriminals at Wired.