Kevin Mitnick Biography

Kevin Mitnick
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Kevin Mitnick
Quick Facts

Birthday: August 6, 1963

Nationality: American

Age: 57 Years, 57 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Kevin David Mitnick, The Condor, The Darkside Hacker

Born Country: United States

Born in: Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, United States

Famous as: Consultant

Writers Public Speakers

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Bonnie Vitello (m. 1987 – div. 1990)

father: Alan Mitnic

mother: Rochell Kramer

U.S. State: California

City: Los Angeles

More Facts

education: Pierce College, James Monroe High School, University of Southern California

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Kevin Mitnick is an American former hacker, IT security consultant, ethical hacking expert, public speaker, and author. He experimented with hacking since he was 12 and hacked into a computer system for the first time at 16. He was jailed for hacking into DEC's computer network. During his supervised release, he hacked into the voice-mail system of Pacific Bell. An arrest warrant was issued against him, and he spent the next 3 years as a fugitive. During this time, he used fake identification to evade arrest and never disclosed his location. He was eventually arrested on February 15, 1995, and convicted on multiple counts of wire fraud, possession of unauthorized access devices, and other cybercrimes. He then spent 5 years in jail. After the end of his supervised release in 2003, he focused on ethical hacking and providing cyber-security solutions to corporates and the government. He established the consulting company Mitnick Security Consulting and the IT training company KnowBe4. He has been part of numerous TV programs on cybersecurity and has also co-written four best-selling books.

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Childhood & Early Life

Kevin David Mitnick was born on August 6, 1963, in Van Nuys, California, U.S.

He studied at the James Monroe High School, located in Los Angeles, California. He was an amateur radio operator in school. He later joined the Los Angeles Pierce College and the University of Southern California (USC).

For a while, in his early days, he also worked as a receptionist for the Jewish organization Stephen S. Wise Temple.

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Life as a Hacker

Kevin Mitnick was interested in hacking since childhood. When he was 12, he used social engineering (and unused slips that he found in a dumpster) to hoodwink the card-punching system of the Los Angeles bus system.

In 1979, at the age of 16, Kevin hacked into a computer network for the first time. Reportedly, he had received the phone number of the Ark, a system used by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in its RSTS/E operating system software. He hacked into DEC's computer network and cloned their software. In 1988, he was convicted and received a year-long prison sentence and 3 years of supervised release.

At a time when his supervised release was about to end, Kevin hacked into the voice-mail computers of Pacific Bell. An arrest warrant was issued in his name, following which he spent almost 3 years on the run.

As a fugitive, Kevin Mitnick reportedly gained unauthorized access to numerous computer networks. He used cloned mobile phones to keep his location hidden. He also copied software owned by some of the U.S.’s biggest telecom and computer companies. Kevin also stole computer passwords, changed computer networks, and hacked into private e-mails.

He soon came to be known as “The Condor” and “The Darkside Hacker.” He also made it to the FBI’s most-wanted list of hackers. By the time he was arrested, he had hacked into the systems of over 40 major corporate organizations, just for the thrill of it. He used fake identities and ran around from one city to another.

Arrest & Conviction

On February 15, 1995, the FBI finally tracked Kevin down to his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was arrested and charged with federal offenses related to computer hacking, including wire fraud, which he had conducted for 2 and a half years. The police found multiple cloned mobile phones and false identification with him.

In December 1997, the website of Yahoo! was hacked. It flashed a message demanding Kevin’s release, threatening an internet "catastrophe" by Christmas that year, if the demand was not met. Yahoo! later dismissed the “worm,” while many others called it a hoax.

Kevin Mitnick was eventually charged with 14 counts of wire fraud and eight counts of possession of unauthorized access devices, apart from other crimes such as gaining unauthorized access to a federal computer system and damaging a computer.

In 1999, Kevin pleaded guilty to two counts of computer fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and one count of illegal interception of a wire communication.

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He received a 46-month prison sentence and 22 months extra for violating the terms of his earlier (1989) supervised release sentence.

Kevin Mitnick eventually spent 5 years in prison, including 4 and a half years of pre-trial imprisonment and 8 months of solitary confinement.

He was eventually released from prison on January 21, 2000. His supervised release came to an end on January 21, 2003. Before that, he was prohibited from using any communications technology apart from a landline telephone. Kevin challenged this decision in court and eventually won the case. He was thus later allowed to use the internet.

Later Life & Career

Kevin is now a successful IT security consultant, an ethical hacking expert, a public speaker, and an author. He established his own consulting company, Mitnick Security Consulting, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 2003. His LinkedIn profile describes him as the company’s “CEO and Chief White Hat Hacker.” The company mainly offers testing solutions, security strategies, and R&D consulting to various government and corporate clients. Some of his clients are AT&T, Dell, the FBI, FedEx, Harvard, IBM, MasterCard, Microsoft, Toshiba, Toyota, and NASA.

He has also been the “Chief Hacking Officer” of his company KnowBe4 since 2012. The company, based in Clearwater, Florida, trains people in security awareness and offers “anti-social engineering” techniques, to manage and counter malicious hacking and computer crimes such as spear phishing and ransomware attacks.

He has also served on the advisory boards of various groups and organizations, such as Zimperium, U.S. (since 2012); NETpeas, Morocco (since 2012); Solve Media, U.S. (since 2012); and LifeLock, U.S. (2008 to 2013).

As a public speaker, his presentations are informative and entertaining. They include live demonstrations and elements of edutainment, including the latest hacking trends.

Kevin has also co-written (with William L. Simon and Robert Vamosi) four bestselling books: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security (2003), The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers (2005), the autobiography Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker (2011, a New York Times bestseller), and 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 (a book on cyber privacy, released in 2017). All four books have been translated into 20 languages and are available in more than 50 countries.

Kevin has also appeared as a commentator on security issues on many news channels. He has appeared on channels and programs such as 60 Minutes, Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil, Court TV, Good Morning America, VICE - Motherboard, CNN’s Burden of Proof, Street Sweep, Tech TV’s Screen Savers, CNBC, CBS, CBC, and The Learning Channel. He was also seen in a guest appearance in the ABC spy drama Alias.

On August 18, 2011, Kevin appeared on The Colbert Report. He was also interviewed on Coast to Coast AM and Slashdot.

Kevin was also seen in Werner Herzog's 2016 documentary Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World.

Personal Life

Kevin Mitnick was previously in a relationship with former TechTV producer Darci Wood.

He is now said to be dating Kimberley Barry, who is the vice president of marketing and business operations at Mitnick Security.

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