Kevin Mitnick is a real celebrity in the world of hackers. Mitnick is a former hacker who was engaged in looking for vulnerabilities in the security systems of large corporations, brute force passwords, used social engineering to deceive, actively used phishing.
Mitnick started doing this when he was a teenager in school. The peak of Mitnick’s popularity came in the 80s and 90s, when he was only 20 years old.
At a fairly young age, he became one of the most famous hackers in the world, at the hands of such large companies as IBM and Nokia, and whose head was hunted by the FBI.
On July 16, Mitnick died at the age of 60.
How Kevin Mitnick became a hacker
As usual, it all starts in childhood. Mitnick was born on August 6, 1963 in Los Angeles.
He was only 10 years old when his parents decided to divorce, which was a big test for little Mitnick. Not only did the parents divorce, Kevin’s mother also stopped paying enough attention to the child: the family lived in poverty, and the mother worked hard.
Mitnick also had problems with socialization: he could not find a common language with his peers. In general, Kevin Mitnick was isolated from both parents and potential friends.
Being in such an unenviable position, Mitnick discovered the world of computers, into which he plunged deeper and deeper. Over time, he discovered that many companies were vulnerable to hacking. Already at the age of 16, in 1979, Kevin Mitnick made his first hacking attempts.
What Mitnick was a hacker
Mitnick used methods familiar to the current hacker – phishing, brute force and social engineering. For example, Mitnick could send letters to company employees asking for passwords, or even call the company and pose as an employee asking them to give him access.
If today such methods seem nasty, and even our mothers and grandmothers know about them, they were quite new in the 1980s.
As a result, at the hands of Mitnick suffered:
- IBM: Mitnick was involved in unauthorized access to IBM computer systems in 1983.
- DEC: In 1984, Mitnick hacked into the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) system. He gained unauthorized access to user data and software.
- Nokia: In 1994, Mitnick hacked the Nokia phone system using social engineering techniques.
- Sun Microsystems: Mitnick also hacked Sun Microsystems systems. He gained access to the source code for the Solaris 2.4 operating system in 1994.
Due to Mitnick’s targeting of large companies, around 1993 he became a major target for the FBI, which considered him a real threat to national security.
In 1995, Mitnick was still caught, although he was actively hiding. So Kevin Mitnick went to jail.
What did Mitnick do after prison?
After leaving prison, Mitnick retrained as a security specialist. He began to use his vast knowledge to protect companies from his former colleagues.
Mitnick founded Mitnick Security Consulting, which was engaged in consulting companies on information security, analysis of security vulnerabilities and legal hacking for companies.
Also, Mitnick began to speak openly with reports and lectures, where he shared his knowledge and experience. He even published several books – The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security and Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker – that describe how companies can strengthen their security systems to resist hackers.