HomeTrendingKevin Mitnick, Renowned Hacker Turned Security Consultant, Passes Away at 59

Kevin Mitnick, Renowned Hacker Turned Security Consultant, Passes Away at 59

Kevin Mitnick, a prominent figure in the world of hacking, once pursued by the FBI in the 1990s, evolved into the nation’s most renowned cybercriminal before transitioning to a successful career as a cybersecurity consultant. On July 16, he sadly passed away at the age of 59 after battling pancreatic cancer, as confirmed by Kathy Wattman, a spokesperson for KnowBe4, a security training company where Mitnick worked.

Dubbed as the “world’s most famous hacker” by KnowBe4, Mitnick gained notoriety by breaching the computer systems of major companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Sun Microsystems during the early days of the World Wide Web. Prosecutors alleged that his activities resulted in damages amounting to millions of dollars.

By the time he was 30, Mitnick had already served a brief prison sentence for his involvement in computer crimes. However, his reputation as a hacker was solidified in 1995 when the FBI captured him during a highly publicized raid at a North Carolina apartment. The arrest marked the conclusion of a 24-hour stakeout and ended his two-year stint as a fugitive. Tsutomu Shimomura, a cybersecurity expert whose computer had been hacked by Mitnick, played a crucial role in helping law enforcement track him down.

Following his arrest, Mitnick pleaded guilty in 1999 to multiple counts of wire fraud and other cybercrimes, leading to a five-year prison sentence. After his release in 2000, with time served, he faced restrictions on internet usage without government authorization, which he eventually regained after an extended battle with authorities.

Post-release, Mitnick became a controversial yet regular presence within the cybersecurity community. He portrayed himself as a misunderstood “genius” and pioneer, with some supporters arguing that he fell victim to both overzealous prosecution and sensationalized media coverage. Protests in over a dozen cities and yellow “Free Kevin” bumper stickers on cars illustrated the fervor of his supporters during and after his sentencing.

PC: Liaison agency

Kevin Mitnick’s journey from a notorious hacker to a respected cybersecurity consultant was marked by turbulence and transformation. While he may have started on the wrong side of the law, his later contributions to the field of cybersecurity earned him a different kind of reputation, one that showcased his expertise and knowledge in safeguarding the digital world.

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