America’s “most wanted” hacker reinvented himself as a cybersecurity consultant after time in prison.
In the 1990s, Mitnick gained notoriety breaking into government websites and corporate networks, including Pacific Bell, and stole corporate data and credit card information.
He was involved in the theft of thousands of credit card numbers and data files across the country in addition to working his way into the country’s cell networks, vandalizing corporate, government and university computer systems.
He was dubbed as the “most wanted” computer hacker in the world by investigators.
A two-year-long nationwide FBI manhunt led to his 1995 arrest and he eventually pleaded guilty to computer and wire fraud.
Authorities believed he had access to corporate trade secrets worth millions of dollars.
In his 2011 memoir, Ghost in the Wires, Mitnick denied using his skills to steal or exploit information for financial gain.
“Anyone who loves to play chess knows that it’s enough to defeat your opponent. You don’t have to loot his kingdom or seize his assets to make it worthwhile,” he wrote.
His arrest sparked a ‘Free Kevin’ movement in the hacking community, which lobbied on his behalf, including with rallies outside the prison where he was held.
Following his release from prison, he became a “white hat” hacker, writer and public speaker.
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