There are certain people that have a lasting effect on you online. The Internet allows one to seek out like-minded individuals all the time. I would consider the following people true hackers, because it is evident through their presence online that they get it. They know the web. They see the potential. These are people who live and breathe The Web. Their every waking moment is dedicated to learning their craft, and sharing the wonder of the web with us.
These are people who I sometimes interact with on the web (usually on Twitter). They see a reflection of themselves in me somehow, and I owe it to them to point that out. The list is in no particular order.
Ashar exploits web applications using a technique called XSS (Cross Site Scripting). He is the most active in his field - though there are plenty before him who pioneered the technique and proliferated the exploits. His portfolio is impressive, and he won many bug bounties and is in many Hall of Fames. The reason I picked him as a web hero, is because actual new XSS exploits are shared on his Twitter that nobody else is caring to share or willing to share. He sometimes runs challenges for others to crack and shares the winning solution online. If you're doing Appsec/Pentesting/Infosec stuff - consult Ashar first.
Antonellis is a longtime web hero of mine and is the creator of netartnet.net Net-art is a subculture of the net that has themes of glitch/remixing/cutup Net-art also concerns itself with the whole net in general, and sees The Net as an endless sea of animated GIFs and exposed Apache servers full of random images. Antonellis has a large body of work online that branches out into other topics too, like net-culture, post-internet-internet, and other lovely topics.
Sougata is a designer / PHP Developer. One of the early Twitter followers of mine, Sougata was always around my web inner circle. Try not to start instant messaging him - the chat could go on for hours (and this is a good thing). I habitually bulk-unfollow people on Twitter, but always make sure I don't accidentally unfollow Sougata. He is a true gent, and shares a deep passion for the web that is evident anytime he gets the opportunity to post, or engage in conversation.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Dmitriy last year when I was working with the MaxCDN team. He is a highly-skilled dev who has an excellent body of work to his name. When he's not creating masterpieces of code craftsmanship for MaxCDN - he contributes his spare time to his passion project / side project jsDelivr. What I like about Dmitriy is he creates tools that do one thing well - and he doesn't do things in half-measures.
Amer is the founder and CEO of Tweepi. Tweepi has enabled me to network on Twitter in ways I could not have imagined. Like many others, nobody was listening to my Twitter account. My tweets were 'dead weight'. After using Tweepi heavily for two years and building a following, I could send updates and get massive engagement from my followers. You can tell of the amount of work that went into Tweepi, and Amer has to consistently tweak the algorithm to play by Twitter's rules. The user interface is almost akin to a Twitter-account debugging device. You have fine-grained control over who to follow, and it has the feature where you can nuke the dreaded Egg-accounts/No-avatar/Sockpuppet/Bot accounts that plague Twitter.
I only recently discovered Chris this year when trying out Buzzfork (a tool to automatically favorite targeted Twitter keywords). Sadly Buzzfork is shut-down due to Twitter's lack of dialogue with developers who actually use their API. Previous to Buzzfork I was using Followgen which had the same issue. Chris does growth hacking for Percolate. Chris is tapped into a new way of thinking about marketing and social. He's somebody to watch if you're running a startup.
Ryder Ripps is another net-art hero of mine. He is the creator of dump.fm, and only recently started OKFocus (a webdev/design shop). OKFocus is the natural progression of somebody who lives and breathes Internet. Ryder Ripps understands the size of The Internet, and the 'limitless' / 'bottomless pit' nature of the web. He embraces the fact that there is no end to the rabbit hole of the web, and infact celebrates it.
I first heard about Zeno when I was researching Web Components. His body of work online is pretty impressive, and he is a very active developer. What I love about Zeno is the craftsmanship that goes into his projects, and the passion. It is evident when looking through his Github that he digs the web platform. He treats it like a playground and does not see it as a mere shopping mall to sell a product, or market an idea.
Sime Vidas is wonderful. He runs a site called Web Platform Daily, and is a true curator. He forages around the net looking for gold and sells it in the form of a subscription to his site. Sime is always learning. You always get the sense there's more to know when looking at his posts. I regularly converse with Sime on Twitter, and hold him in high esteem. He's part of my Twitter DNA. A true web hero.
I learned about Assaf from his site Labnotes.org. Labnotes is one of those few Internet gems that surprises me each time. Each week there is a link-roundup of handpicked information from around the web. There are many like it, but Labnotes is distilled, like a good sherry. Assaf watches the net with hawk-eye precision, and very rarely misses the best bits. He is a true connoisseur of web.