Kevin Mitnick: the computer-break-in artist

Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. Security experts often refer to him as “The World’s Most Wanted Hacker.” Indeed, the US Feds took almost three years to catch him. How did he manage to do that? Let’s explore his story, then!

Hacking activity

Grown-up in Los Angeles, Mitnick wanted to become a magician. When he learned how to make phone calls with a little blue box, he became curious about comms.

This also included how phone systems work and ultimately hacked phone companies’ systems to learn more.

Hacking into corporate networks and stealing data landed the teenager in jail. Indeed, he stole computer handbooks containing technical specifications from one of the largest computer companies in the United States.

He also violated NORAD (North American Defense Command). Such violations would later base the 1983 War Games movie. Yet, he continued this hacking activity through his 20s and became a fugitive in 1992.

The arrest of Kevin Mitnick

The FBI finally caught up with Mitnick in February 1995 after he hacked into Tsutomo Shimomura’s computer, a research scientist.

Shimomura traced the hack to a modem connected to a cell tower near Raleigh, N.C. Mitnick pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, two counts of computer fraud, and one count of illegally intercepting a wire communication.

He served five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. For these three years, the court forbade him to use a computer, too.

Conclusion: the life of Kevin Mitnick

After the FBI caught Mitnick for the second time, he gave his hacking activity in 2000. Also, by doing so, he stated that he had meant no harm to the organizations he had hacked.

Beyond his real intentions, Mitnick became a senior cybersecurity consultant in the Fortune 500 club. Fortune 500 regroups the 500 biggest companies of the United States. In brief, he turned to be a white hacker.

White hacking helps organizations protect themselves against malicious black hacking, which is cybercrime activity. Companies should always care about what hackers tell them about their security. If not, see what happened in the case of Raphael Grey on our blog.

Nowadays, he is a keynote speaker at many seminars delivering the importance of security awareness in the cyber domain.

To discover more, click here for one of his interviews!