Kevin Mitnick was an American computer security consultant, author, and convicted hacker. He is best known for his high-profile 1995 arrest and five years in prison for various computers and communications-related crimes.
Height- 5’9″ ft (1.75m)
Born- 6 August 1963
Birthplace-Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, United States
Full name – Kevin David Mitnick
Death-16 July 2023
Death place-Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Spouse-Bonnie Vitello (m. 1987–1990)
Kevin Mitnick grew up in Los Angeles with his parents, Alan Mitnick and Shelly Jaffe, as well as his maternal grandmother, Reba Vartanian, forming his family.
He had two marriages in his lifetime. His first marriage was to Bonnie Vitello, and they got married in 1987. However, their relationship faced difficulties, and they separated in 1990. Later on, Kevin found love again and married Kimberley Mitnick. Sadly, Kevin passed away, but he leaves behind his wife Kimberley, who is expecting their first child, carrying on his legacy.
At the age of 16, Kevin Mitnick obtained unauthorized entry into a computer network back in 1979, thanks to a friend who provided him with the telephone number for the Ark. This computer system belonged to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and was used for developing the RSTS/E operating system software.
During this breach, he managed to copy the company’s software, which eventually led to criminal charges and his conviction in 1988. Consequently, he received a 12-month prison sentence, followed by three years of supervised release. Towards the end of his supervised release period, Mitnick engaged in hacking Pacific Bell voicemail computers. Subsequently, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he fled, becoming a fugitive for two-and-a-half years.
While on the run, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that he gained unauthorized access to numerous computer networks. To avoid detection, he employed cloned cellular phones to conceal his location. Among his activities, Mitnick copied valuable proprietary software from major cellular telephone and computer companies across the country. Additionally, he intercepted and stole computer passwords, tampered with computer networks, and even accessed and read private emails.
Arrest, Conviction, And Incarceration
After an extensively publicized pursuit, Kevin he was apprehended by the FBI on February 15, 1995, at his residence in Raleigh, North Carolina. The arrest was based on federal charges related to a two-and-a-half-year period of computer hacking, which encompassed offenses of computer and wire fraud.
In December 1997, the Yahoo! website fell victim to hacking, displaying a message advocating for Mitnick’s release. The message claimed that all recent visitors to Yahoo!’s website had been infected with a computer worm set to cause havoc on Christmas Day unless he was freed. However, Yahoo! dismissed the claims as a hoax and refuted the existence of the alleged worm.
Mitnick faced multiple charges, including wire fraud (14 counts), possession of unauthorized access devices (8 counts), interception of wire or electronic communications, unauthorized access to a federal computer, and causing damage to a computer.
In 1999, he pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, two counts of computer fraud, and one count of illegally intercepting a wire communication as part of a plea agreement with the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.
Mitnick spent five years in prison, with four-and-a-half years served pre-trial and eight months in solitary confinement. His prolonged detention came in part due to authorities convincing a judge that he possessed the capability to “start a nuclear war by whistling into a pay phone.” This outlandish claim implied that law enforcement alleged he could dial into the NORAD modem via a payphone from prison and communicate with it through whistling to launch nuclear missiles.
On January 21, 2000, he was released from prison. During his supervised release, which concluded on January 21, 2003, he was initially restricted from using any communication technology beyond a landline telephone. As part of the plea agreement, Mitnick was also prohibited from profiting from films or books based on his criminal activities for seven years, adhering to a special judicial Son of Sam law variation act.
In December 2001, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) judge declared that Mitnick had undergone sufficient rehabilitation to be granted a federally issued amateur radio license.
Net Worth 2023
Kevin Mitnick’s estimated net worth was around $20 million at the time of his passing. This substantial fortune was amassed through his successful career as a security consultant, writer, and public speaker. Through these endeavors, Mitnick was able to achieve significant financial success before his death.
Cause of Death
Kevin Mitnick died from pancreatic cancer on July 16, 2023, at the age of 59 at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hospital. At the time of his death, he was married and his wife was pregnant with his first child.