The tech news is filled with headlines today about the "world's biggest hacker" who has apparently been caught in London. Of course, whenever you read sensationalistic headlines claiming some extreme, it should make you wonder. Like some others, my first impression was that, perhaps, this was the world's fattest hacker. Otherwise, how do you judge exactly the world's "biggest" hacker? In this case, it appears to be on the say so of a US Attorney trying to make his case -- in which case you might expect him to use extreme descriptions with no basis in reality. In fact, he doesn't even say that this guy is the world's biggest hacker, but instead accuses him of committing the "world's biggest military hack." So, there are some conditions here. First, it's limited to the military. Second, it's not that he's the biggest hacker -- but he pulled off this particular hack. Finally, the "biggest" part seems to come from the "damage" estimates, which tend to be about as accurate as BSA estimates on "lost revenue" from copied software. Often these estimates come from a combination of the value of the data that might have been compromised plus the cost of patching up the system that should have been secure in the first place. None of this seems to add up to the world's biggest hacker in any way -- but apparently, having newspapers scream out headlines saying "Man Who Realized US Military Computers Poorly Secured Caught" didn't have quite the same ring to it.
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