From Hacker to Phantom: The Demise of Kevin Mitnick

From Hacker to Phantom: To the Death of Kevin Mitnick

Security specialist Kevin Mitnick, known as a hacker in the mid-1990s, has passed away at the age of 59 due to pancreatic cancer. Mitnick, who referred to himself as a “social engineer,” gained fame for his ability to hack into computer systems using tricky phone calls to determine passwords. Born in Van Nuys, California in 1963, Mitnick developed a passion for technology at a young age, starting with validating bus tickets and later exploring telephone systems and amateur radio.

At the age of 16, Mitnick gained access to a Digital Equipment (DEC) computer and gradually explored the company’s network, eventually leading to his arrest and a 12-month prison sentence in 1988. After being released and breaking into Pacific Bell’s voicemail computers, Mitnick went into hiding until his arrest in 1995. He spent four and a half years in custody before his trial in 1999, where he was labeled as “the most dangerous hacker in the world” and sentenced to 46 months in prison. Mitnick’s experiences and perspective were detailed in the book “Kevin Mitnick. The Hacker” by Katie Hafner and John Markoff.

Following his release and a successful lawsuit, Mitnick reestablished himself as a computer security expert and author, writing books such as “The Art of Deception,” “The Art of Burglary,” “The Art of Anonymity,” and his autobiography “Ghost in the Wires.” He founded his consulting firm, “Mitnick Security Consulting,” and worked with other security specialists. Mitnick also appeared in the documentary “What is the Internet dreaming of” in 2016. Sadly, Mitnick passed away after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer, not living to see the birth of his first child.

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