Legendary computer hacker Kevin Mitnick dies at 59
Posted By: Sophia Andrew
Posted On: July 21, 2023
Kevin Mitnick, a really famous hacker known for cybersecurity, passed away on the weekend at the age of 59. He had been fighting pancreatic cancer for over a year. His family shared this sad news in an obituary.
Before he died on July 16, Mitnick became famous for his hacking skills, and his adventures were so impressive that they inspired several movies.
One of the films, called “WarGames,” starred Matthew Broderick. It was partly based on the claim that Mitnick when he was a teenager, managed to hack into the computer systems at North American Aerospace Defense Command. However, he always said that he never actually did that.
Kevin Mitnick’s curiosity got him into trouble when he was caught stealing $1 million worth of special computer programs from a company called Digital Equipment Corporation in 1988.
As a result, he was sent to prison for one year and had to be on probation for three years.
However, things didn’t end there because in 1995, he broke the rules of his probation, and the police issued a new arrest warrant for him.
Instead of facing the consequences, Mitnick decided to run away and hide. During his time on the run, he hacked into the computer systems of many different companies, cell phone companies, and schools, according to the government’s charges against him.
Mitnick and his supporters claimed that he didn’t intend to harm anyone or steal money. He said he was an “old-school hacker” and did it mainly out of curiosity to learn more about computers.
But the authorities were worried about how skilled he was, and when he was caught again in 1995, they put him in solitary confinement. They were concerned that even being near a phone could give him the chance to continue his hacking activities.
In 1999, Mitnick and the government made an agreement, called a plea deal, about his crimes. He admitted to doing seven illegal things, like wire fraud and causing damage to computers.
As a result, he had to spend 46 months in prison, and after that, he couldn’t work in any job where he could use computers or computer-related stuff for a while. But he got out of prison in 2000 because he had already spent some time there before.
In 2011, Mitnick wrote a book about his hacking experiences called “Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker.”
After his time in prison, he decided to use his hacking skills for good. He became a “white-hat hacker,” which means he used his knowledge to help companies protect their computer systems from bad hackers.
For about ten years, he worked as the chief hacking officer and a part owner of a tech security company called KnowBe4, which was started by his close friend and business partner, Stu Sjouwerman.
In a 2005 interview with CNN, Mitnick said that when he was younger, he made some really dumb mistakes that he now regrets. But he feels fortunate because he got a second chance in life. He decided to use his skills to help the community, which means he used his knowledge for good things.
His close friend and business partner, Sjouwerman, said that Kevin was a dear friend to many people at KnowBe4. He was not just famous in the cybersecurity world, but also a wonderful person. Everybody will miss him a lot.
There will be a memorial for Mitnick on August 1 in Las Vegas, as his company shared. He leaves behind his wife Kimberley, who is expecting their first child.
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