Kevin Mitnick, once known as the ‘World’s Most Wanted’ computer hacker and social engineer, is an American computer security consultant and a New York Times bestselling author.
He spent almost 5 years in federal prison after his hacking arrest in 1995.
He was born on August 6, 1963, in Van Nuys, California, USA, as Kevin David Mitnick.
Mitnick went to James Monroe High School in LA, California.
At age 12, Mitnick reverse-engineered the LA public transportation transfer system.
Kevin hacked his first computer network when he was 16.
At age 17, Mitnick allegedly broke into the North American Aerospace Defense Command computer.
”Pranskterism. It was fun. I was curious,” Kevin said about his motivation for hacking during an interview with ZD Net. ”I wanted to know how things worked, especially operating systems. I read the source code. I didn’t sell it or distribute it.”
During the 80s, Kevin gained temporary control of three central telephone offices. Mitnick also hacked Digital Equipment Corporation’s network.
In 1988, Kevin was sentenced to one year in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
In February 1995, the FBI arrested Mitnick on charges of breaking into the computer systems of major corporations.
The arrest occurred at 1:30 a.m. after an intensive two-week electronic manhunt, according to Justice.gov.
”He’s a recreational hacker,” his attorney Donald Randolph said. ”He didn’t do it for economic gain or damage anything, and there’s no allegation that he attempted to damage anything.”
”He’s a danger to the community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Painter, who made the arrest, said. ”We’re talking about someone who has consistently and without self-control hacked into systems everywhere.”
Mitnick spent four years, 11 months, and six days in federal prison, including 8 months of solitary confinement. ”It’s far more of a nightmare than you can even imagine,” Kevin wrote in his book ”Ghost in the Wires” about solitary confinement.
”I was in a high-security prison with killers,” Mitnick told Infosecurity Magazine. He went on to say: ”They’d let me out – in handcuffs – for an hour a day. It was a very scary time, and I spent every day thinking there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”
He was released in April 2000. Under the terms of his probation, Mitnick was prohibited from possessing or using cellular telephones, computer hardware, laptop computers, computer-related equipment, and computer software for the next three years, with the exception of a landline telephone.
In 2001, Mitnick was played by actor Skeet Ulrich in the film ”Track Down.” In the same year, Kevin portrayed C.I.A. Agent Burnett in one episode of the TV series Alias.
In January 2003, he became free to use computers. In the same month, he founded Mitnick Security Consulting, a full-service information security consulting firm that provides security solutions.
In 2003, Mitnick published his first book, titled – ”The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security.”
In 2011, Mitnick partnered with internet security awareness training company KnowBe4, LLC. He was appointed as Chief Hacking Officer.
Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 founder and CEO, said: ”We’re excited to announce our partnership with Kevin Mitnick, who is widely recognized as today’s foremost social engineering and hacking expert.”
In 2014, Kevin launched “Mitnick’s Absolute Zero Day Exploit Exchange.”
In 2016, he was featured in Werner Herzog’s documentary ”Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World.”
In April 2021, KnowBe4 officially became a public company. ”I’m incredibly proud of our talented team at KnowBe4,” Mitnick wrote on his Twitter. ”It feels like yesterday when I partnered with Stu back in 2011. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.”
From 1987 to 1990, Kevin was married to Bonnie Vitello.
Kevin Mitnick is currently in a relationship with Kimberley Barry, VP Marketing & Business Operations at Mitnick Security.
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”As a young boy, I was taught in high school that hacking was cool.”
”Anyone who thinks that security products alone offer true security is settling for the illusion of security.”
”Every business should educate their employees and contractors about pretext social engineering attacks.”
”At the end of the day, my goal was to be the best hacker.”
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Kevin Mitnick – Net Worth
Mitnick earned most of his wealth from serving as the CEO of Mitnick Security Consulting and Chief Hacking Officer of KnowBe4.
Kevin is the author of several books, including – The Art of Invisibility, Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker, The Art of Intrusion, and The Art of Deception. His books are available in over 20 languages.
Mitnick is also the chief technology officer of Olyseum, a blockchain-powered social platform. He’s a board member of several companies, including – LifeLock, Solve Media, NETpeas, and ZIMPERIUM.
He appeared on I Am Rebel, Cyber War, The Inside Man, The Screen Savers, Freedom Downtime, Secret History of Hacking, and Hackers Computer Outlaws.
Therefore, computer security consultant Kevin Mitnick has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
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