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Renowned hacker Kevin Mitnick passes away: Here's all you need to know

Kevin Mitnick spent five years in prison for computer and wire fraud after a two-year federal manhunt in the 1990s. However, upon his release in 2000, he transformed himself into a respected "white hat" hacker, cybersecurity consultant, and author.

Vishal Upadhyay Edited By: Vishal Upadhyay New Delhi Published on: July 21, 2023 13:58 IST
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Image Source : KEVIN MITNICK YOUTUBE Hacker Kevin Mitnick passes away at the age of 59

Kevin Mitnick, a former notorious computer hacker, passed away on July 16 at the age of 59 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Mitnick's hacking journey began at a young age in 1979 when he was just 12 years old. In 1988, he faced legal consequences and served a 12-month prison sentence for software copying.

Despite his conviction, he continued his hacking activities as a fugitive during the '90s, breaking into various systems, including Pacific Bell's voicemail computers.

While engaged in stealing files and credit card numbers, Mitnick claimed to have never taken money from his victims. In 1995, he was apprehended and charged with telephone access device misuse and computer fraud. Law enforcement suspected that he had access to corporate trade secrets valued at millions of dollars. 

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Reportedly, Mitnick served a five-year prison term, which he referred to as a "vacation," leading him to transform his path to become a White Hat hacker and cybersecurity consultant. A "white hat" hacker uses their skills to find vulnerabilities and security issues in organisations to assess their security measures. 

In 2003, Kevin Mitnick established Mitnick Security Consulting, providing cybersecurity advice to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Later, in 2011, he became a "chief hacking officer" and part owner of KnowBe4, a company offering phishing security awareness training.

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In his 2011 memoir, "Ghost in the Wires," Kevin Mitnick stated that he never used his skills to steal or exploit information for financial gain. He likened hacking to a chess game, where defeating the opponent was enough satisfaction. His arrest led to a 'Free Kevin' movement within the hacking community, advocating for his release through rallies outside the prison where he was held.

Before his passing, Kevin Mitnick is survived by his wife, Kimberley Mitnick, and their unborn child. Kevin Mitnick's death on July 16, 2023, marks the end of an era for the hacking community

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