Friday, August 22, 2008

Kevin Mitnick Looks Back in Forbes Interview

Kevin Mitnick

Andy Greenberg writes on

There was a time when the name Kevin Mitnick represented everything that the world's chief security officers feared most: a reckless geek with the power to break any network in the world.

Prosecutors and journalists, including the New York Times' John Markoff, further aggrandized his cybercrime exploits, claiming he was a criminal hacker mastermind who had wiretapped the FBI to stay ahead of his pursuers, hacked into Pentagon computers and could launch nuclear weapons simply by whistling tones into a pay phone.

Mitnick wound up serving five years in prison--four before his conviction and eight months in solitary confinement. He got out in 2000. Now Mitnick, 45, has reinvented himself as a security consultant. In his second career, he performs the same cyber-intrusions he once used to steal data to suss out flaws in companies' defenses. That means Mitnick has to convince major corporations and even government agencies that he's a trustworthy professional--rather than a cyberpunk.

But Mitnick isn't hiding his hacker background. In fact, he says the notoriety of his criminal past has only boosted his business. And last month, at the HOPE hacker conference in New York, Mitnick announced that a lapsed statute of limitations will allow him to publish a book detailing his exploits as a cybercriminal and a fugitive. The book won't be ready for about a year but talked with Mitnick about telling all, the state of cybersecurity and why true hackers make the best security professionals.

More here.


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