The Truth Behind the Myth of Kevin Mitnick

Most people's conceptions of who the real Kevin Mitnick are derived from media-created myths. The media created this fantastic story and credited him with activities being carried out by other hackers, because if there was one villain, the story was much more interesting. The more interesting the story, the more newspapers and magazines it could sell.

Kevin Mitnick has been fascinated with technology since early childhood. His dabbling in electronics began with CB and ham radios. He eventually graduated to manipulating the phone system to play pranks on people, after the hobby of phone phreaking was introduced to him by some high school friends. Mitnick was intrigued by the phone systems, and had a desire to know everything about how they worked. When the phone systems converted over to computerized, switches, he graduated along with them, and approached computers with the same vigor with which he had mastered the phone system.

Kevin was never a malicious hacker and his hacking was never performed for personal gain or to cause damage to systems. His pursuit of hacking was purely to satisfy his intellectual curiosity, and, contrary to many innacurate reports, he never destroyed data or profited from his exploits.

Unfortunately, the government could not understand a hacker who was motivated by a personal quest for knowledge and a good challenge. Since computer crime was a relatively new challenge for the government back in the mid-1990's, there were major efforts to obtain funding for these new crime-fighting programs. These programs couldn't get the funding without the public's support. This drive for funding, combined with the sensationalist media reports depicting Kevin as the Most Wanted Hacker in the World, was all the government needed to make Kevin Mitnick their prime target.

Kevin describes how he won the "scapegoat sweepstakes" based on the intense fear and propaganda generated by the American media and the U.S. government. You will hear first hand about what he did and why he did it, and his experiences at the hands of the United States criminal justice system.

Adopted from Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC

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