Kevin Mitnick, American computer security consultant, author, and former hacker, gained notoriety for his highly publicized arrest in 1995 and subsequent five-year imprisonment due to a range of computer and communications-related offenses. Remarkably resourceful even at a young age, at 12 years old, Mitnick persuaded a bus driver to reveal where he could acquire a ticket punch for what he claimed was a “school project.” Armed with this tool, he ingeniously used discarded transfer slips discovered in a dumpster near the bus company garage, allowing him to travel freely on buses throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Height- 5’9″ ft (1.75m)
Born- 6 August 1963
Birthplace-Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, United States
Full name- Kevin David Mitnick
Death-16 July 2023
Death place- Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Spouse-Bonnie Vitello (m. 1987–1990)
Born on August 6, 1963, in Van Nuys, California, Kevin Mitnick was raised in Los Angeles. His father, Alan Mitnick, and mother, Shelly Jaffe, along with his maternal grandmother, Reba Vartanian, constituted his family.
Kevin Mitnick experienced two marriages during his lifetime. His initial union was with Bonnie Vitello, and they exchanged vows in 1987. Unfortunately, their marriage encountered challenges, leading to their separation in 1990. Later in life, Kevin found love once again and married Kimberley Mitnick. Tragically, Kevin passed away, but he leaves behind his wife Kimberley, who is expecting their first child, a testament to the continuation of his legacy.
At the age of 16, Kevin Mitnick obtained unauthorized entry into a computer network back in 1979, thanks to a friend who provided him with the telephone number for the Ark. This computer system belonged to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and was used for developing the RSTS/E operating system software.
During this breach, Mitnick managed to copy the company’s software, which eventually led to criminal charges and his conviction in 1988. Consequently, he received a 12-month prison sentence, followed by three years of supervised release. Towards the end of his supervised release period, Mitnick engaged in hacking Pacific Bell voicemail computers. Subsequently, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he fled, becoming a fugitive for two-and-a-half years.
While on the run, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that Mitnick gained unauthorized access to numerous computer networks. To avoid detection, he employed cloned cellular phones to conceal his location. Among his activities, Mitnick copied valuable proprietary software from major cellular telephone and computer companies across the country. Additionally, he intercepted and stole computer passwords, tampered with computer networks, and even accessed and read private emails.
Arrest, Conviction, And Incarceration
After an extensively publicized pursuit, Kevin Mitnick was apprehended by the FBI on February 15, 1995, at his residence in Raleigh, North Carolina. The arrest was based on federal charges related to a two-and-a-half-year period of computer hacking, which encompassed offenses of computer and wire fraud. When caught, Mitnick was found in possession of cloned cellular phones, over 100 cloned cellular phone codes, and various pieces of false identification.
In December 1997, the Yahoo! website fell victim to hacking, displaying a message advocating for Mitnick’s release. The message claimed that all recent visitors to Yahoo!’s website had been infected with a computer worm set to cause havoc on Christmas Day unless Mitnick was freed. However, Yahoo! dismissed the claims as a hoax and refuted the existence of the alleged worm.
Mitnick faced multiple charges, including wire fraud (14 counts), possession of unauthorized access devices (8 counts), interception of wire or electronic communications, unauthorized access to a federal computer, and causing damage to a computer.
Despite being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, this information was not utilized as evidence during his trial. In 1999, Mitnick pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, two counts of computer fraud, and one count of illegally intercepting a wire communication as part of a plea agreement with the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. He received a sentence of 46 months in prison, with an additional 22 months for violating the terms of his earlier supervised release sentence for computer fraud. This violation involved hacking into Pacific Bell voicemail and other systems, as well as associating with known computer hackers, including co-defendant Lewis De Payne.
Mitnick spent five years in prison, with four-and-a-half years served pre-trial and eight months in solitary confinement. His prolonged detention came in part due to authorities convincing a judge that he possessed the capability to “start a nuclear war by whistling into a pay phone.” This outlandish claim implied that law enforcement alleged he could dial into the NORAD modem via a payphone from prison and communicate with it through whistling to launch nuclear missiles. Additionally, media outlets reported on the lack of kosher meals available during his incarceration.
On January 21, 2000, Mitnick was released from prison. During his supervised release, which concluded on January 21, 2003, he was initially restricted from using any communication technology beyond a landline telephone. As part of the plea agreement, Mitnick was also prohibited from profiting from films or books based on his criminal activities for seven years, adhering to a special judicial Son of Sam law variation act.
In December 2001, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) judge declared that Mitnick had undergone sufficient rehabilitation to be granted a federally issued amateur radio license.
- Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker (by Kevin D. Mitnick, Steve Wozniak)
- The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security (by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak)
- The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data (by Kevin D. Mitnick, Robert Vamosi (Co-author))
- The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers (by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon)
- Trojan Horse (by Mark E. Russinovich, Kevin D. Mitnick)
- Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent (by Ryan Russell (Goodreads Author) (Editor), Kevin D. Mitnick (Editor), Russ Rogers (Goodreads Author), Paul Craig)
- No Tech Hacking (by Johnny Long, Kevin D. Mitnick)
- Unauthorised Access: Physical Penetration Testing for IT Security Teams (by Wil Allsopp, Kevin D. Mitnick)
- Hardware Hacking: Have Fun while Voiding your Warranty (by Joe Grand, Kevin D. Mitnick, Ryan Russell)
- Hacker’s Box : L’Art de la supercherie / Hacker’s Guide (by Kevin D. Mitnick, Eric Charton)
- Hacking book Full course: Wifi , Youtube , Facebook , Android , Ethical Hacking (Hacking Course 1) (by Kevin D. Mitnick)
- Hardware Hacking: Have Fun while Voiding your Warranty (by Joe Grand, Kevin D. Mitnick)
- The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of… (by Kevin D. Mitnick)
- Sztuka podstepu, wydanie 2 (by Kevin D. Mitnick)
- L’arte dell’invisibilità: Il più famoso hacker del mondo insegna come sparire nell’era in cui social media e big data stanno uccidendo la privacy (by Kevin D. Mitnick, Robert Vamosi)
Net Worth 2023
Kevin Mitnick’s estimated net worth was around $20 million at the time of his passing. This substantial fortune was amassed through his successful career as a security consultant, writer, and public speaker. Through these endeavors, Mitnick was able to achieve significant financial success before his death.
Cause Of Death
Kevin Mitnick, once one of the FBI’s “most wanted” cybercriminals, passed away at the age of 59. After a two-year federal manhunt in the 1990s, he served five years in prison for computer and wire fraud.
However, after his release in 2000, Mitnick underwent a transformation, becoming a highly respected “white hat” hacker, cybersecurity consultant, and author.
He fought a brave battle against pancreatic cancer for 14 months before his passing on Sunday.
“Kevin was truly unique; his life resembled a captivating work of fiction,” states his obituary. Growing up in California’s San Fernando Valley as an only child, he possessed extraordinary intelligence and an adventurous spirit, often engaging in mischief and challenging authority, all while harboring a passion for magic.
During the 1990s, Mitnick gained infamy for hacking into government websites and corporate networks, notably Pacific Bell. He pilfered corporate data and credit card information, orchestrating the theft of numerous credit card numbers and data files across the country. Additionally, he successfully infiltrated the nation’s cell networks and caused disruptions to corporate, government, and university computer systems.
Read Also: Annabelle Ham Biography