Kevin Mitnick, Hacker Who Once Eluded Authorities, is Dead at 59 – Slashdot

Kevin Mitnick, Hacker Who Once Eluded Authorities, is Dead at 59 – Slashdot


Kevin Mitnick, Hacker Who Once Eluded Authorities, is Dead at 59 (



from the RIP dept.

Kevin Mitnick, once the so-called “most wanted computer criminal in US history,” died on Sunday. He was 59. The New York Times adds: The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer. He had been undergoing treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center following his diagnosis more than a year ago, according to the King David Memorial Chapel & Cemetery in Las Vegas. After serving prison time for breaking into and tampering with corporate computer networks, he was released in 2000 and began a new career as a security consultant, writer and public speaker.

Mr. Mitnick was best known for the crime spree during the 1990s that involved the theft of thousands of data files and credit card numbers from computers across the country. He used his skills to work his way into the nation’s phone and cell networks, vandalizing government, corporate and university computer systems. Investigators at the time named him the “most wanted” computer hacker in the world.

In 1995, after a more than two-year-long manhunt, Mr. Mitnick was captured by the F.B.I. and charged with the illegal use of a telephone access device and computer fraud. “He allegedly had access to corporate trade secrets worth millions of dollars. He was a very big threat,” Kent Walker, a former assistant U.S. attorney in San Francisco, said at the time. In 1998, while Mr. Mitnick awaited sentencing, a group of supporters commandeered The New York Times website for several hours, forcing it to shut down. The next year, Mr. Mitnick pleaded guilty to computer and wire fraud as part of an agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. He was also prohibited from using a computer or cellphone without the permission of his probation officer for the three years following his release.

From an obituary: Kevin was an original; much of his life reads like a fiction story. The word that most of us who knew him would use — magnificent.

He grew up brilliant and restless in the San Fernando Valley in California, an only child with a penchant for mischief, a defiant attitude toward authority, and a love for magic. Kevin’s intelligence and delight in holding the rapt attention of audiences revealed themselves early in his childhood and continued throughout his life. In time, he transitioned from pranks and learning magic tricks to phone phreaking, social engineering, and computer hacking.

When his desire to push boundaries led him too far astray, he landed in juvenile detention and eventually served a couple of stints in prison. His time on the FBI’s Most Wanted List was well documented in his New York Times bestselling book, The Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker, and his other titles: The Art of Deception, The Art of Intrusion, both co-authored with William Simon, and The Art of Invisibility with Robert Vamosi.

Kevin emerged from his final prison term, which he deemed a ‘vacation,’ in January 2000. He was a changed individual, and began constructing a new career, as a White Hat hacker and security consultant. He became a highly sought-after global public speaker, a writer, and established the successful Mitnick Security Consulting. In November 2011, he became the Chief Hacking Officer and part owner of security awareness training company KnowBe4, founded by close friend and business partner Stu Sjouwerman.

New York… when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you.
– David Letterman


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