In the second of a series of Forbes posts on the world’s most famous hackers, we turn our attention to William Henry “Bill” Gates III – hacker, programmer, co-founder of Microsoft MSFT -0.46%, philanthropist and investor.
A story originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald on March 17, 1986, tells the story of a young Bill Gates, and his affection for computer hacking.
Years later in 2002, a more mature Gates – chief at Microsoft at the time – wrote his famous email on trustworthy computing. His message was about protecting and defending Microsoft’s intellectual property – namely its software code – and securing the electronic information belonging to their customers. WIRED published the email in its entirety – which was sent to every Microsoft employee at the time, and signed ‘Bill’.
Today Gates sits atop the Forbes list of The World’s Billionaires – the richest people on the planet – and he is one of the biggest philanthropists in the world. According to a story in Inc. Magazine, Gates’ mother prodded him into philanthropy. hacker, programmer, co-founder of Microsoft MSFT -0.46%, philanthropist and investor.
The term ‘hacker’ is thrown around loosely in the media and by IT professionals. There are all sorts of hackers ranging from teenagers who may be too curious for their own good – like Gates was – to thrill seekers who brag about their exploits in the dark web, to ransomware authors out purely for the money, to members of organized cybercrime gangs, to cybercriminals sponsored by hostile nation states.
Bill Gates was a young hacker who pushed the limits, got caught, paid his price and learned from it, then went on to startup the iconic Microsoft Corporation.
Some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs of our time are reformed hackers. Who are they and how far did each one push it? Stay tuned for the next post!
In case you missed the first post on the world’s most famous hackers, here’s Kevin Mitnick.