Kevin Mitnick, Hacker Who Eluded Authorities, Is Dead at 59

Hacker Kevin Mitnick, once one of the nation’s most wanted computer criminals, died Sunday, the cybersecurity training company he co-founded and a Las Vegas funeral home said in a statement Wednesday. It was revealed. he was 59 years old.

His death was confirmed by publicist Cathy Whatman. Knowby 4.

The cause was a complication of pancreatic cancer, which Mitnick had undergone at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after being diagnosed with it more than a year ago. King David Memorial Chapel and Cemetery in Las Vegas.

A convicted hacker, Mitnick is best known for stealing thousands of data files and credit card numbers from computers across the country in the 1990s. He used his skills to infiltrate telephone and cellphone networks across the country and sabotage computer systems in governments, businesses, and universities. Investigators at the time named him the world’s “most wanted” computer hacker.

After more than two years of investigation, Mr. Mitnick was arrested by the FBI in 1995 and charged with illegal use of telephone access equipment and computer fraud. “He was said to have accessed millions of dollars’ worth of trade secrets. He was a very big threat,” Kent Walker, a former assistant federal attorney in San Francisco, said at the time.

In 1998, while Mitnick was awaiting sentencing, a group of supporters occupied the New York Times website for several hours, forcing it to shut down.

The following year, Mitnick pleaded guilty to computer fraud and wire fraud as part of an agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. He was also prohibited from using a computer or cell phone without the permission of a probation officer for three years after his release.

After being released from prison in 2000, Mitnick embarked on a new career as a security consultant, author and public speaker, according to the funeral home’s obituary.

Mr. Mitnick grew up in Los Angeles as the only child of divorced parents. According to his 2011 memoir Ghost in the Wires, he was a loner who moved a lot and studied magic tricks. By the age of 12, Mitnick had figured out how to get on the bus with a $15 punch card and a blank ticket from the trash can, and by high school he was obsessed with the inner workings of phone switches and circuits. became. enterprise.

By the age of 17, he had compromised the computer systems of various companies, and eventually clashed with authorities for the first time over their activities. It’s the beginning of a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with law enforcement.

In his memoir, Mitnick disputed many of the accusations made against him, including hacking into government computer systems.

Mitnick also claimed that he ignored credit card numbers collected in his pursuit of crypto. “Anyone who loves chess knows that it is enough to beat his opponent. No,” he writes in his book.

Survivors include Mitnick’s wife, Kimberly Mitnick, who is expecting their first child, according to the obituary.

A full obituary will be published soon.

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