Twenty-three years ago, Kevin Mitnick was on the run. “I was the catch me if you can of cyberspace,” he said.
He broke into computer systems across the country, but says now that his crimes were not for money. “Why I was a hacker was (for) the intellectual curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge, the seduction of adventure.” he said.
In a case that garnered national attention, Mitnick marked the start of the cyber crime known today. From teenage prankster to the FBI’s most wanted list, he spent five years in federal prison for his crimes.
Mitnick now works as a cyber security expert and is using his unique knowledge and hacking capabilities for good.
“I started hacking before there were laws against it,” Mitnick said. “What my goal was to be the best at getting around security. I wanted to be the Harry Houdini of hacking.”
With federal investigators closing in on him in Seattle, Mitnick needed a new identity and a new home. A spontaneous idea brought him to Raleigh. “I loved the game Monopoly, and I like the greens,” he said. “But I like the greens, and of course, North Carolina is the greens.” He moved to to the Triangle in 1995 with a new alias and began looking for a job.
“Even though I was a fugitive, I was the type of fugitive that wasn’t committing crimes to make money," he said. "I’d actually go get real jobs and live a normal life and do my hacking hobby at night.”
Mitnick obtained a North Carolina's driver's license, taking the test in a cab he paid $100 to rent. He leased an apartment in what was then the Player's Club off Duraleigh Road in Raleigh. But his Houdini magic ran out in the Tarheel State. “I go into my apartment, and all of a sudden, I just get this bad gut feeling that something bad’s going to happen,” Mitnick said. He went to the balcony to look outside. Convinced he was being paranoid, Mitnick went back inside and fired up his computer.
He immediately heard a knock on the door from the FBI.
Watch and read the full cool interview at the source.